November 8, 2013
READ: Ezekiel 14:1-11
[They] have set up idols in their hearts (v.3).
In the final scene of the film, the leading man—eyes brimming with tears—summarised his life to his girlfriend: no friends, no job and a shady past. He had no family ties, no apparent faith in God. He really had only one thing—the love of his favourite girl, and he vowed lifelong devotion to her. To make her happy, he had refrained from violence, remained monogamous and had stopped using certain unsavoury words. Everything he did and planned to do revolved around the beautiful starlet he’d fallen for.
This scenario shows how relationships can become idols. When God said, “You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind” (Exodus 20:4, emphasis added), He was warning us not to let anything come between us and Him. Sadly, sometimes the pursuit of romance eclipses our love for God.
During Ezekiel’s life, the Israelites struggled with idolatry. God gave His prophet a message for some of His people’s leaders. He said, “[They] have set up idols in their hearts” (Ezekiel 14:3). In God’s eyes, idolatry wasn’t just about creating and bowing down to wooden figures. It was a heart condition—a misdirection of their devotion to Him.
God’s message continued, “They have embraced things that will make them fall into sin” (v.3). Anything that leads us away from God will lead us into sin. If a relationship becomes an idol, however, there’s an added danger. We can be tempted to compromise our purity—a sin against God and ourselves (1 Corinthians 6:18-19).
Our God desires and deserves to be first in our hearts. When we truly grasp His love for us, we’re not as tempted to give the best of ourselves to a ‘significant other’ and hope that God is satisfied with the leftovers. —Jennifer Benson Schuldt
Read Judges 16:17-19 to see what happened when Samson prized pleasing his girl more than following God. Look up Isaiah 41:29 to see what God thinks of idols.
What are some possible consequences of setting up idols in your heart? Why does God deserve to have first place in your life?