What Makes an Idol?

Genesis 35:2  

And Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods that are among you, purify yourselves, and change your garments.”

“Put away the foreign gods.”

Jacob’s words would prove to be almost prophetic, as these five simple words would highlight a perpetual weakness of Jacob’s descendants. After becoming a nation, Israel would continually find itself drawn to the deities of surrounding nations—worshipping wooden carvings and metal statues instead of the invisible God who had created humanity. Unfortunately, the Israelites never would truly give up their idolatry addiction and would ultimately be carried off into captivity (Ezekiel 6:9).

God’s people today (spiritual Israel) face this challenge in a way the ancient Israelites could have never imagined. Carved images may have declined in popularity, but believers must contend with an ever-growing pantheon of false gods. These gods are worshipped at the altars of employment, electronics, entertainment, money and many other distractions of modern life. An idol doesn’t have to be made of wood or stone; an idol can be anything a person puts before God in his or her life.

To discover more about battling idolatry today, read our article “Idolatry—Then and Now.”

Tomorrow on the Daily Bible Verse Blog: “Playing Favorites.”

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