Idols In the House of God

In 2 Chronicles 33 we read the story of Manasseh and how he led Judah into sin.  Manasseh did many wicked things including passing his children through the fire, restoring the high places his father Hezekiah destroyed, and practicing witchcraft and divination. Even worse Manasseh placed idols “in the house of God, of which God had said… ‘In this house and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen from all the tribes of Israel, I will put My name forever’” (1 Chronicles 33:6).  While placing “idols in the house of God” seems like an unlikely wickedness today, Christians can be guilty of the same sin.


         Today God’s house is not a physical temple as in Manasseh’s day, but a spiritual one.  Paul wrote, “having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone; in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit” (Eph.2:20-22).   The Church is God’s spiritual temple today and individually, we are stones that make up that great spiritual house (1 Peter 2:4).   


         How can we be guilty of erecting idols in the house of God today? While we would never bow down to a piece of wood or stone, we can still be guilty of idolatry.  An idol is anything that takes the place of God in our heart.  In the book of Ezekiel, the elders of Israel kept coming to Ezekiel, sitting at his feet and listening to his words, but they had idols in the hearts.   The Lord told Ezekiel, “Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts and put before them that which causes them to stumble into iniquity. Should I let Myself be inquired of at all by them?”  The same thing can happen today.  This is why Paul referred to covetousness as idolatry in Col.3:5. If material things are more important than God then they are an idol to us. 


          This is what they Lord warned about in the parable of the sower.   One of the biggest problems among God’s people is too many thorns.  Those among the thorns are those who allow “the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desire for other things” to enter in and choke the word (Mark 4:19).  They erect idols in their hearts that take them away from God. 


         How can we avoid erecting idols in the house of God? First, we need to focus on things above (Colossians 3:1-2).  When we are focusing on Heaven, we are not focusing on earthy things.  Secondly, remember what place on our life belongs to God (Luke 4:8).  When we remember God and God alone should be served, then we’ll strive to purify ourselves from idols.  Finally, remember what happens to idolaters.   It is a work of the flesh that will keep you out of heaven (Gal.5:19-21).  Idolaters will have their part in the lake of fire and brimstone (Rev.21:8).   It is very easy to allow our priorities to get out of order and erect idols in our hearts.  Let us heed the words of John and keep ourselves from idols (1 John 5:21). 

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