A Christian in India has been reading this blog and mentioned there is much idolatry in that country. I was asked to provide some Biblical information that can be shared with those who practice idolatry there. I hope this is some helpful information to them, and to anyone else who is interested in this subject.
First of all, it is important to define what idolatry is. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, there are two definitions for idolatry.
1. The worship of a physical object as a god.
Which means an idol can be a carved image, a statue, or any physical object that is worshiped as a god.
2. An immoderate attachment or devotion to something.
Which means an idol can be ANYTHING in your life that you believe is more important than anyone or anything else.
Next, if you believe the Christian Holy Bible is the Word of God, it is important to understand that the Bible tells us there is only ONE TRUE GOD, and only one way to have eternal life. Pay close attention to the following verses:
John 5:20 - And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us
understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who
is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal
John 17:3 - "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (NAS)
John 14:6 - Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. (NAS)
It is also important to know what God's Word, the Holy Bible, has to say about idolatry. According to the following verses, worshiping anything other than the one true God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, is not acceptable in His sight:
Exodus 20:3-6 - You shall have no other gods before me. 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, visiting
the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth
generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands
of those who love me and keep my commandments. (ESV)
Leviticus 19:4 - Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves any gods of cast metal: I am the Lord your God.
Deuteronomy 27:15 - Cursed be the man who makes a carved or cast metal image, an abomination to the Lord, a thing made by the hands of a craftsman, and sets it up in secret. And all the people shall answer and say, ‘Amen.’
Carved objects or statues made of precious metals and jewels cannot hear us when we pray to them. They cannot answer our prayers. They are speechless and meaningless. Here are two verses written about this:
Jeremiah 11:12 - Then the cities of Judah and the inhabitants of
Jerusalem will go and cry to the gods to whom they make offerings, but
they cannot save them in the time of their trouble.
Habakkuk 2:18 - What profit is an idol when its maker has shaped it, a
metal image, a teacher of lies? For its maker trusts in his own creation
when he makes speechless idols!
If you think idolatry is only mentioned in the Old Testament portion of the Bible, let me show you some verses in the New Testament also:
I John 5:21 - Little children, keep yourselves from idols.
I Corinthians 10:14 - Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.
As mentioned in definition #2 above, there are also things besides physical objects that can be idols in our lives:
3:5 - Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality,
impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
To sum it up, anything or anyone that replaces the one true God is an idol. Worshiping that idol is considered idolatry. Likewise, worshiping an idol along WITH the one true God is also idolatry. We should be devoted to serving and worshiping ONLY Him.
I will close with the greatest commandment of all:
Matthew 22:36-38 - “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ “This is the great and foremost commandment.