In Exodus, God says, “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God..”
Oh dang. We can’t carve images and worship them? There goes my idol making business dream! This verse is so tough to follow since bowing down to inanimate objects is so in right now. Ok I’m sure in other cultures and religions they might be carving images to worship. Back then, obviously people struggled with physical idol worship. But in everyday life in America we don’t come across many Idol making classes or Idol’s Anonymous. So how does this verse apply to us? It’s the idea behind the idol worship. And this idea is: putting other things before God and trying to find fulfillment in them, instead of in our Creator.
Our life style makes it very obvious what we worship. I’d say in our culture, the most popular idol, is our cell phones, or electronics in general. We freak out if we leave home without them. We spend a lot of money on making them more convenient and stylish. They are wonderful things, and I have one, but we need to be careful not to worship these man- made objects. If we need something too much, we become unstable when we don’t have that thing. Things in this life are wonderful at times, but there always seems to be a slight emptiness in worldly pleasures, like there’s something missing. Everything tangible, man made, or earthly, doesn’t last forever, so our satisfaction is fleeting. We are always searching for the one thing to make us feel whole…. whether it’s money, career, people, romance, or sex. It’ can even be good things, like friendships, family, and church. It’s so easy to find that thing in life that makes us happy, and then suddenly we revolve our lives around it. Suddenly that thing is surpassing God on the priority chart. Sometimes we don’t even realize what’s happening until we feel parched for something spiritually sustaining. It’s like forgetting to drink water for a few days and drinking coffee or soda instead because it tastes better in the moment. Suddenly we will be so thirsty, we will realize that we need water more than we need coffee or soda. It water is meant to keep us alive and functioning properly.
In the same way, it is God’s job to make us feel whole.
He is what fulfills us in ways tangible things can’t.
God doesn’t want us to worship him to feed his ego. He made us and everything in this intricate world so he doesn’t need his ego boosted. He has all the power to do what he wants, but holds back because he loves us. He wants what is best for us, and many things in life distract us off onto some bunny trail that promises Disneyland and unicorns, but leads to death valley. God promises to lead us to freedom, joy, integrity, and wholeness, and when we trust him and build our lives on him, we find that he gives us the desires of our hearts. He is the solid rock in the storm. If we make anything else our foundation, the storm hits and that foundation crumbles, and suddenly we are falling, grasping for something to keep us afloat. If anything on this earth does make us feel whole, or if we try to make earthly things become our reason for living, we end up making that thing our idol and when our God isn’t first, we end up empty in the end.