A simple definition of idolatry is anything
you love more or attribute your success to other than God. Judges 17 shows
Israel falling into idolatry and moral decline. Israel, the nation that was to
set the example for spiritual living, had instead become morally depraved. You
would wonder how in the world did the people of Israel after seeing what God
had done for them be this pathetic in their understanding of who God is. What
are the symptoms of idolatry?
Independent from God
“In those days there
was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes” Judges
17:6. Independent from God
does not mean that you never turn to God. It means that you think you don’t
need Him all the time. For the most part, God is outside of your life, and when
you think you need Him then you invite Him in. We become
independent when we never ask guidance from God in the first place.
- Dependent on circumstances
does it take to shake your faith? Don’t let the circumstance dictate what
you’re going to do. Idolatry can be as subtle as emotions, as subtle as
desiring things. When you’re following God, you can count on Him, He will come
to your rescue. But if you’re doing your own thing and involved in idolatry, this
exposes your lack of trust in God.
– Own authority
there a part of the Word of God you don’t believe, won’t obey, or you think is
not important to follow? In Judges 17:9-10, Micah hires a Levite to be his
priest. But in truth, God alone can appoint a priest. Micah did not have the
authority to decide that and acted on his own. While
Micah revealed the religious downfall of individual Israelites, this priest
illustrated the religious downfall of priests and Levites.
When you deal with selfish attitudes, it’s
all built on desires for yourself. Judges 17:2 reveals that Micah stole money
from his own mother. Covetousness is attached to lustfulness and lustfulness is
always attached to idolatry.
A – Assumptions
What do you believe about God even though
there’s nothing in Scripture that supports that? Assumptions can lead us to
independence of God. In Judges 17:12-13, Micah rejoiced because of his
assumption that having a Levite for his priest would bring blessings from the
Lord, when in fact it was forbidden in the Law (Num. 3:10). Micah has decided he knows
how God works and is making God in his own image.
T – Trapped
Examples of idols that trap you is when you
decide you are going to make some money in your life and before you know it you
become a slave to your money. You decide you want to do well in your career,
but if you seek success so much and you lose your walk with God and get
tunnel-vision, you lose your family and friends just to become a CEO. Or it may
be that the more you possess things, the more you’re possessed.
R – Religiosity
How close is the “public” you to the “private”
you? This means we just have to focus on the outside of the cup (our outer
person), and don’t worry about what’s on the inside (our inner person) because
people will never see. That part is kept hidden from people. That’s surface
Y – Yoked
Does your walk with the Lord feel like a
burden? Everybody who has even one idol in their life has a yoke. If you’re
feeling burdened by the church or yoked to your ministry and not to Jesus, get
close to Jesus so He can show you where to say no. The more aware we are of who
or what our idols are, the greater chance the Holy Spirit has to help us.