THE DEADLY DEADNESS OF IDOLS

 

In Leviticus 26:1, God gives us a straightforward commandment:

“Ye shall make no idols nor carved image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the Lord your God.”

In a rather different context, Jesus gave us a reason for that commandment in Matthew 22:32 in speaking of what God the Father said regarding the resurrection:

“(Have you not read that) I am the God of Abraham, and the god of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the god of the dead, but of the living.”

Psalm 135:15-18 establishes more clearly the connection between these two passages:

“The idols of the nations are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but the see not; they have ears, but they hear not; neither is there any breath in their mouths.

“They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.”

That passage is pretty scary. It echoes Isaiah 6:9 and 10, and Matthew 13:14 and 15:

“And [the Lord] said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heard, and be converted, and be healed.”

“And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which sayeth, By hearing, ye shall not understand; and seeing, ye shall see and shall not perceive. For this people’s heart is become gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.”

Returning to the passage in Psalm 135, note that God views the idols as worthless, nothing but inanimate material, and that those who make and worship idols are as dead as the inanimate idols themselves. Then Isaiah equates the nature of idol-worshipers with a lack of understanding of God that is so profound as to prevent their healing . Jesus goes yet further, declaring that healing follows salvation and spiritual rebirth, the implication there being that idol worshipers are not only spiritually dead and unable to be saved, reborn or healed, but that they cannot and never will understand the Word of God.

Idol worshipers have come in many flavors over the centuries. Modern versions of idol worship include money in its many manifestations, adoration of the famous, and narcissistic absorption with self.

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