What does the Bible say about the worship of idols?

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The Second Commandment

About the worship of idols, the Lord commanded: “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—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 nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments” (Exodus 20:4-6).

The Worship of idols

The warning contained in the second commandment clearly shows God’s attitude toward the worship of idols. He views such worship as a direct insult to Himself. The Lord will not share the reverence and obedience of His people with any other entity or thing (Exodus 34:12–16; Joshua 24:19). Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other (Matthew 6:24).

To revere and worship idols is clear violation to God’s command. It equals the command of don’t murder, for example. God has always regarded it with particular hatred more than anything else. It is a source of aggravation to Him. He said, “I will destroy your high places, cut down your incense altars, and cast your carcasses on the lifeless forms of your idols; and My soul shall abhor you” (Leviticus 26:30 also 1 Corinthians 6:9; Revelation 21:8; 22:15).

A jealous God

To show His love for His people, the Lord uses the symbol of marriage (Jeremiah 6:2; 2 Corinthians 11:2). Straying away from God to venerate or worship idols is resembled by the prophets as adultery (Hosea 4:12–15; 8:14; 9:1, 15, 17). God, as the husband to His people desires His bride (church) to be wholly His, and is very jealous of those things that steal her love away from Him. Certainly, no believer who genuinely loves God will ever allow anyone or anything to arouse His jealousy. Therefore, no believer should never link himself with anything that is idolatrous in nature.

Hidden idols

Anything in a person’s life that steals the affections away from God and fixing them on other beings or things is a clear transgression of God’s law. Any overly love to family, possessions, fame, and success, which leads one to spend time or care on those things to such an extent that the love of God is neglected, is idolatrous in nature and deserves God’s displeasure (Matthew 10:37–39 also Luke 14:26).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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