What is idolatry and why is it such an important issue?

Idolatry is an incredibly important issue for many different reasons, for starters because God says do not do it. If it’s important enough to be part of the 10 commandments issued on Mt. Sinai, then we know it can’t be too trivial, but then I have troubles imagining anything the Lord says being trivial. Idolatry is worshiping, in any shape or fashion, anything, other than God Himself. It is important because of smaller reasons, like the fact that it will never bring us true joy, comfort, protection etc. And bigger reasons like that fact that it grieves the Holy Spirit.

The Webster dictionary defines it as this;

1. The worship of idols, images, or anything made by hands, or which is not God.


Idolatry is of two kinds; the worship of images, statues, pictures, &c. made by hands; and the worship of the heavenly bodies, the sun, moon and stars, or of demons, angels, men and animals.


2. Excessive attachment or veneration for anything, or that which borders on adoration.

I think a big problem is that the vast majority of people in church believe that because they do not worship a wooden or stone statue, they do not commit idolatry. Idolatry goes beyond just wood and stones. We think that we are not guilty of this, but I dare say we all are. Any point in time, if our affection for God is less than something else, we are guilty. If we seek to find comfort or safety in something or someone else other than God, we are guilty of this most horrible sin. If we desire something more than we desire God, we are idolaters. “Sin arises because we desire something more than God. Overcoming sin begins by reversing this process: desiring God more than other things.” (Chester 116).


About Daniel Mason

I write from the historic protestant worldview, that is, Reformed. I hope you will be both blessed and challenged by my writings. View all posts by Daniel Mason

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