According To Our Idols
"I the Lord will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols." (Ezek. 14:4) in this passage of scripture we have a principle laid down by the God of heaven that should challenge the attention of us all. It so vitally affects our study of the Word of God and every act of worship we offer that we should give it careful consideration. The principle in its application is simply this: when men approach God to justify their idols, they can expect only that as the result. God will not over-rule the desire of our hearts to take precedence over our desire for Truth and the desire to please Him. He will see to it that such desires are the only reward we shall receive.
Idols take hold upon the minds of men and blind them to the Truth of God's Word. Wherever they look, instead of seeing the truth as God has taught it, they are able only to see the image before them. They interpret all things else in the light of that image, and all efforts result only in deepening their regard for the idol.
Men see what they look for in most instances. Some people see ghosts, for they are constantly looking for them.
So in the study of the Bible, men entertain certain ideas and images in their hearts and begin to look for their justification in the word of God. The result is that they are able to find them to their own satisfaction.
There is the idol of personal opinion and desire. This idol causes men to reject the plain statements of God's word, and cling to what they want to believe. They have no hesitancy in saying, "Yes, I know the Bible says that, but I believe," or "I think," etc. That simply means that they are worshiping at the shrine of their own desire and opinions rather than worshiping God.
Inherited religion is an idol in the minds of some people. So many people have made up their minds to hold on to the religion of mother and father in spite of what they learn to be taught in God's Word. They reject the truth of God because of inherited traditions. These inherited conceptions and practices are an idol, taking the place of God.
Some people have such a high regard for education that they have no hesitancy in rejecting some plain positive statement of God's word, and taking in its place the opinion of some learned Doctor of Divinity (?). Worldly wisdom becomes to them an idol, and were they to read the Bible a thousand years, they would not learn the truth until that idol is destroyed.
The idol of human creeds is a common one. Many thousands of people in this world are wedded to certain human creeds. They have been catechized through their lives until their creed has become to them a God. Their worship is directed by it, and therefore is directed to it.
It gets no higher than the compliance with such a creed.
"My church teaches," or "We believe," and all such statements indicate regard for the doctrines and commandments of men and a disregard for the Bible. Christ tells us (Matt. 15:7) that human doctrines make our worship vain.
There are many who worship at the shrine of denominational organizations. They give their money and their lives to build them and they will not turn away from them even for God. Such people have not stopped to realize that they have sworn fidelity to a human organization rather than to God and His Christ. The Psalmist tells us that they who build the house labor in vain unless God does the building. (Ps. 127:1) When all has been said and done, their only reward will be in the organization they have built; for God will not recognize either it or them. They were builders, but they build the wrong kind of house.
The idol of self-justification is common also. We search the Word of God to find something that indicates that we are right. We search for the passage that might seem to prove our contention. We look diligently for the statement that might justify our conduct. In all of this we are only worshiping the idol of self-justification. If we are wrong, we should face it and correct it. The greatest act of self-deception is the effort men make to justify themselves.
Finally, there is the idol of public opinion. How many thousands of men have failed to obey Christ because of what their friends might think. How many practices in religion have been instituted for the purpose of pleasing the crowd. Jesus taught that if men prayed to be heard of men, they had the only reward they would receive. He also said that if we give our alms to be seen of men, we should expect no reward from God. (Matt. 6:1-6) The same would hold true of any act of worship or service. It must be done with the idea of giving God glory. The purpose of worship and service must be to please God, otherwise we are worshiping idols.
We should study the Bible to find what it teaches; let us learn the will of God, rather than come to him with an idol in our hearts.