Those of us that grew up in the church, especially the evangelical Church, will often hear a common sermon. Preached frequently from the pulpit is the concept of idol worship and how that translates into the modern skeptical world. Almost no one here in the west will bow down to a molech or ba’al statue now, but we form our own idols in the things we obsess over and spend too much time with. At least, that is the commonly held thought. Sports, video games, TV, these things can all become idols in our lives, or can they?
Concepts like these existed in Ancient Israel, and even likely back to the beginning of time. Men would always spend too much time at work, think too much on sports, or the equivalent. Elisha, I am quite sure, spoke too often of the latest rock rolling game. Yet in Scripture, when God warns of idol worship, He is angry at the actual bowing and worship of another god, not sports, or obsessive lawn care.
So then, if modern-day idol worship isn’t obsession with worldly things, what is it? As we said earlier, we don’t bring our firstborn to molech any more, or worship images of Ba’al. What than is idol worship? Well, the obvious first answer is ACTUAL worship of false gods. This does exist, if not as commonly in the West, but takes shape in Islam, Buddhism, or Hinduism. These are actual idol worship, easily identified. What about the West then and its apparent absence of those types of eastern mysticism? Well, it may not be as obvious, but I would argue it is just as pervasive in the western church, more increasingly, we are seeing it in the form of steps taken to reject His revealed Word when it discomforts us or when another “truth” suits us better.
We discover a truth about God and we reject it. How many times have you heard someone say “I couldn’t worship a God like that” That person has ceased to pursue truth and is now pursuing comfort. We will exchange the truth for a lie because it suits us better. We then set this god up in our image (a reversal of creation in the Garden) and we bow to it. We pray to it. We go to church on Sunday and we sing praise and worship songs to it. We have actually created a real idol and just called it by the same name. This is what modern idol worship is, and it is sadly pervasive.