Scripture Reading:

Isaiah 40:18-24

“You shall not make for yourselves an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.”

Exodus 20:4

I often wondered how the ancient Israelites could be so daft. They took a rock or a piece of wood, carved an image on it, and then bowed down to it as a god. Really?

Then I checked my wallet. Money is made from paper, which is made from wood pulp. I looked around my neigh­borhood. The houses are made of wood and stone. Maybe the only difference between us and ancient idol worshipers is that our idols today could have a longer production process.

It is disturbing to realize how good we are at making idols. We can make them out of any physical thing. We can even create them out of thin air. For example, we can claim to be righteous on the basis of our political views. We can worship a sports franchise. We can devote our lives to the service of a corporation. Such idols are also known as ideologies, or “isms.” Our ability to create such gods is unlimited. Anything that we attach our ultimate desire to, whether physical or conceptual, can be an idol, a god.

But these idols are not the Lord God, the one who delivered Israel from Egypt, the one who freed us from our slavery to sin. Only this God moves through history with his people. This is the one who created us. We cannot and must not create another.


O God, forgive us. You are the only one. You are our Creator, our Savior, and our friend. Help us to remove any and all idols from our lives and serve you only. Amen.

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