Idol worship snatches you away from the true God and his vision
Paul's first letter to the Corinthians gives warnings against Idols. Even the food offered to idols should not be eaten . Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians says that what is sacrificed on pagan altars is offered to demons , not to God.
By K. L. Joseph
God detests and condemns the idol worship. Idol worship is a deadly sin as it transgresses the very first commandment of the Lord. According to the Book of Exodus in the Old Testament, the idol worship began at the foot of the Sinai Mountain. The Israel people, after they were rescued by Moses with the help of God and brought out of Egypt through the Red sea, had camped at the foot of Sinai Mountain. After leaving the people there with Aaron, Moses alone went to the Mountain Top at the command of God , as God wanted to speak to him. When Moses had not come back, the Israelites got impatient and apprehensive. At their insistence for a god to lead them, Aaron made a gold bull-calf by melting the gold earrings and pouring the liquid gold into a mould. The people then rejected their true living God and began to worship the lifeless Gold Bull-Calf. They said , “ This is our god, who led us out of Egypt !” (Ex. 32.4). They rejected the God of Israel who truly liberated them.
Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians gives warnings against Idols (1 Cor. 10 ). Even the food offered to idols should not be eaten . Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians says that what is sacrificed on pagan altars is offered to demons , not to God (1 Cor. 10. 20) So, the person eating the food offered to the demons becomes the partner with demons. Such a person cannot drink from the Lord’s cup and also from the cup of demons; you cannot eat at the Lord’s table and also at the table of demons ( 1 Cor. 10. 21).
Chapter 34. 14-17 of the Book of Exodus contains the following warnings given by God when the Covenant was renewed by Him with the people of Israel: “ Do not worship any other god, because , I , the Lord tolerate no rivals. Do not make any treaties with the people of the country, because when they worship their pagan gods and sacrifice to them they will invite you to join them , and you will be tempted to eat the food they offer to their gods. Your sons might marry those foreign women, who would lead them to be unfaithful to me and to worship their pagan gods. Intermarriage and idolatry will cause to sever one’s spiritual relationship with the Lord and the Church.
This is exactly what had happened to King Solomon, son of David. (The First Book of Kings, Chap. 11. 1-13 of OT). Solomon’s loyalty towards his Lord, the God of Israel, was very strong at the beginning. He loved the Lord and followed the instructions of his legendary Father King David. As testimony to this fact, the first thing Solomon sought from the Lord when he was made the King of Israel and Judah was wisdom for him to rule his people with justice. The Lord was extremely pleased and granted wisdom and understanding to Solomon than anyone has ever had before. But Solomon’s weakness for marrying foreign women displeased the Lord. He failed to make use of the wisdom and understanding received from God. He married many foreign women from Moab, Ammon , Edom, Sidon etc. The Lord commanded Solomon not to intermarry with these people, because they would cause the Israelites to give their loyalty to other gods.
Solomon married seven hundred princesses and also had three hundred concubines. His life with them made him turn away from God. At old age also, Solomon sinned against God by worshipping the disgusting gods viz. Astarte, the goddess of Sidon ; Molech, the disgusting god of Ammon and Chemosh, the disgusting god of Moab etc. Thus, Solomon deliberately broke the covenant with God and disobeyed his commands. He swerved from the sacred path of his father King David. God did not give instant punishment to Solomon for his disobedience. He said to Solomon, ‘ I will take the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your officials. However, for the sake of your father David I will not do this in your lifetime , but during the reign of your son.”( 1 Kings 11).
God’s concern , anger and disgust of Idol worship have been reflected throughout the Old Testament, viz. in the Book of Exodus; Book of Deuteronomy; First Book of Kings; Book of Proverbs ; Book of Isaiah; Book of Ezekiel and more powerfully in the Book of Jeremiah. The Prophet Jeremiah lived in the first part of the sixth century B.C. The Prophets were chosen by the Lord. But, Jeremiah differed from other prophets as God chose him before he was born! His special assignment was to warn the people about the disastrous consequences of the Idol worship. So, during his long ministry , Jeremiah warned God’s people of the catastrophe that was to fall upon the nation because of their idolatry and sin. True to his prediction, the idolatry and sin of the people of Jerusalem caused its fall to the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar, the destruction of the city and the temple ,and the exile to Babylonia of Judah’s King and many of the people.
Paul’s letter to the Colossians says in Chapter 3.5 that ‘Greed is a form of Idolatry ‘. Greed for money and acquisition of wealth through evil ways will lead a person to sever his spiritual connections with the Lord. Also, chapter 6.24 in the gospel of Matthew says: reads as under: “No one can be a slave of two masters; he will hate one and love the other; he will be loyal to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money “.
There is nothing to be gained out of Idol worship, except God’s wrath and punishment .The Idol worshippers will be doomed without any consideration and protection from God. However, those who abandon the pagan gods and worship only the true and the living God in accordance with the first commandment and show unflinching loyalty towards him will never be let down. The Book of Daniel proves this point. The Pagan King of Babylonia , Nebuchadnezzar , made a gold statue and commanded that everyone should come and worship the gold statue on hearing the sound of the trumpets. But Daniel’s three friends who were the Jews and also the members of the King’s Court, refused to worship the gold statue. On refusal, the three men were thrown into the blazing furnace, but the Lord, God of Israel, protected them from being roasted in the blazing fire. Not even their hair was singed. The three friends in the blazing furnace were saved by an angel sent by the Lord.
When Daniel also refused to worship the gold statue, he was thrown into a pit filled with the Lions and the mouth of the pit was closed by placing a stone over it. There also, God sent his angel to shut the mouths of the lions and Daniel was not hurt by them. So, there is only one God to be venerated and worshipped and that is the Son of the living God, Jesus Christ.
(Based in Thrissur, Kerala, K. L. Joseph is a lay Catholic who writes on Biblical and Christian themes.)
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