The first and second commandments of the Decalogue were given to us by God Himself. While the vast majority of the Bible was written by holy men, Jehovah wrote His law in stone with His own finger. A staunch warning God gave to His people about adjoining themselves to idols. Often we think of idol worship in terms of serving the gods of wood and stone. We even attribute idol worship to anything that takes the place of worshiping God, such as television and entertainment.
Have you considered the fact that idol worship can be manifested by man, even professed Christians through mere ideology? An object lesson in the scriptures is given to us for contemplation. The prophet Ezekiel recounts the sins that separated Israel from their God while in the wilderness.
“But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness: they walked not in my statutes, and they despised my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; and my sabbaths they greatly polluted: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them in the wilderness, to consume them. … Because they despised my judgments, and walked not in my statutes, but polluted my sabbaths: for their heart went after their idols.” Ezekiel 20:13, 16
Recalling the story of King Saul as he acted contrarily to the word of God spoken to him by Samuel the prophet in 1 Samuel 15, we are reminded of the satanic nature of making the commands of God of none effect. Listen to the indictment of Saul for his egregious actions. Samuel says:
“For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king. … And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD hath rejected thee from being king over Israel.” 1 Samuel 15:23, 26
Sadly, many of us today, have erected to ourselves philosophical idols just like the children of Israel and Saul. We have gone after other gods by submitting to our own reasoning and have transgressed the commandment of the Lord. Consequentially, we are in danger of God permanently rejecting us. Like Saul, by following “unsound doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:3), we are in peril of guising ourselves in a false Christianity that will devolve us into witchcraft. Paul warns:
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils…” 1 Timothy 4:1
The servant of the Lord, Sister Ellen G. White also warns of this typically stealthy manner of idolatry:
“In rejecting the truth, men reject its Author. In trampling upon the law of God, they deny the authority of the Law-giver. It is as easy to make an idol of false doctrines and theories as to fashion an idol of wood or stone. By misrepresenting the attributes of God, Satan leads men to conceive of Him in a false character. With many, a philosophical idol is enthroned in the place of Jehovah; while the living God, as He is revealed in His word, in Christ, and in the works of creation, is worshiped by but few. Thousands deify nature while they deny the God of nature. Though in a different form, idolatry exists in the Christian world today as verily as it existed among ancient Israel in the days of Elijah. The God of many professedly wise men, of philosophers, poets, politicians, journalists—the God of polished fashionable circles, of many colleges and universities, even of some theological institutions—is little better than Baal, the sun-god of Phoenicia.
“No error accepted by the Christian world strikes more boldly against the authority of Heaven, none is more directly opposed to the dictates of reason, none is more pernicious in its results, than the modern doctrine, so rapidly gaining ground, that God’s law is no longer binding upon men. Every nation has its laws, which command respect and obedience; no government could exist without them; and can it be conceived that the Creator of the heavens and the earth has no law to govern the beings He has made? Suppose that prominent ministers were publicly to teach that the statutes which govern their land and protect the rights of its citizens were not obligatory—that they restricted the liberties of the people, and therefore ought not to be obeyed; how long would such men be tolerated in the pulpit? But is it a graver offense to disregard the laws of states and nations than to trample upon those divine precepts which are the foundation of all government?
“It would be far more consistent for nations to abolish their statutes, and permit the people to do as they please, than for the Ruler of the universe to annul His law, and leave the world without a standard to condemn the guilty or justify the obedient. Would we know the result of making void the law of God? The experiment has been tried. Terrible were the scenes enacted in France when atheism became the controlling power. It was then demonstrated to the world that to throw off the restraints which God has imposed is to accept the rule of the cruelest of tyrants. When the standard of righteousness is set aside, the way is open for the prince of evil to establish his power in the earth. (The Great Controversy, pp. 583, 584)
Christ is preparing to come back for a people who love the truth. The psalmist wrote that all of God’s commandments are truth (Psalm 119:151). The Lord wants to write His law in your heart, but he will not cohabitate in it while satanic idols take up residence there. Friend, won’t you allow Jesus to come into your heart today? He will give you a clean heart and then in all sincerity you can say:
“I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.” Psalm 40:8