Deuteronomy 4:24 (KJV) “For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.”
Idolatry takes on many forms. It can take the form of an image made to resemble an object. It can also take the form of a mental image. The latter form of idolatry is the one we tend to overlook as Christians, but it is just prevalent as the tangible idolatrous object. When we exalt someone, something, or even ourselves to the place which should be occupied by God and under His sovereignty, then we have created an idol.
Understanding The Text
Repeatedly throughout Israel’s wilderness wanderings and beyond, God had issued warning against this type of activity. Why? The spiritual ramifications of engaging in such practices not only affected (most importantly) the people’s relationship with God, but it also affected their relationships with one other, with the surrounding nations, and with the land itself.
To engage in such practices was to deny the fact that it was God Who: 1) made the promise to their fathers, 2) delivered them from Egypt, 3) preserved them in the wilderness, and 4) was now preparing to lead them into the land of promise. In addition to this, it was a denial of the fact that God dwelt among them and had provided them with a system for living that would guarantee unlimited blessing, favor, and protection contingent upon their obedience and faithfulness to Him and His commands. As a result, God is declaring that He is worthy of their allegiance, and He is not willing to share their devotion with anyone or anything else (Is. 42:8). To do so would greatly diminish His Sovereign authority within the creation and His rightful claim to all of creation as its Creator.
What Does This Mean For Us?
Where do we stand in all of this? It is something that we must carefully consider. How often have we engaged in some practice that may have been questionable as to removing God from His rightful place within our lives? Regardless of whether it was to “fit in“, or whether it was to continue on a path of idolatry that we know to be contrary to where God has been leading us? In either situation, when we have elevated someone or something else to God’s place within our lives, we have erected an idol.
We need to become more mindful of our decisions and pray that the Holy Spirit will help us to guard against this. We have to become more mindful about honoring God for Who He is, in addition to what He has done on our behalf. He is truly deserving of it…