To read the Scriptures with high resolution and high
fidelity, you cannot miss the abundance of text where God speaks against
idolatry and witchcraft or sorcery. A close examination of what these are
reveals that the worshipper is abandoning the true God for something or someone
lesser. The lower power is elevated to be like God and ultimately to replace.
A definition of idolatry is “anything we serve, love, desire,
trust, fear, and worship…apart from God to give us love, joy, peace, freedom,
status, identity, control, happiness, security, fulfillment, health, pleasure,
significance, acceptance, and respect” (Gospel Transformation, pg. 59).
this definition the “give” and “get” transactional nature of idolatry. In
idolatry a person serves a god to gain what only the one true God can
ultimately give. To say it another way, idols are functional saviors that
people turn to for what only God can provide.
Whoa… functional saviors that people turn to for what only
God can provide. An example is found in Jeremiah’s message to God’s wayward
people. Listen to this message about their idolatry.
The infidel mistakenly believes that their fulfillment and
power is to be found in a lesser god. Repeatedly God calls His people to return
and be faithful. He will restore and he will cleanse from the stains that
lesser gods leave on our spirit, soul, and body.
God is saying that he had broken their bondage to slavery
and set them free. But the idolatrous heart says it will not serve the One who
has freed them. The chasing after other gods has a sexual overtone of
Instead of high fidelity toward God, the rebel practices
infidelity. There is no fidelity and no faithfulness to God. In the intense
longing for sexual fulfillment, the wayward one says that they are hopeless.
They can’t help but follow other gods.
Isn’t that a stunning picture of the learned helplessness
that comes from unfaithfulness? There is a fatalistic giving in to a hopeless
pursuit. There is no satisfaction to be found.