In the previous post, we discussed how to assess exactly what it is that we worship. Over the next several weeks, we’ll examine some of the most dangerous idols around. Since we at Revision Church are big proponents of the Bible, we’ll look at Scriptural examples of these idols, and the consequences they wrought as well.
As mentioned before, idols are often good things until we become more devoted to them than we are to God. At this point, they are taken out of their proper context and they become dangerous. For example, fire is a good thing. It provides heat, light, and medium rare filet mignon. As long as fire is kept in its proper context, such as a fireplace, we are able to enjoy it safely as a wonderful blessing. However, the moment a fire escapes its proper place, it will burn your house down.
Which brings us to America’s favorite idol: pleasure. To be more specific, America has an unhealthy obsession with sex. You can’t turn on a TV, pick up a magazine, drive down the interstate, or go shopping without seeing something sexual. The reasoning behind this is simple. Sex sells. Why? Because sex has become our easiest and most enjoyable form of pleasure. We delight in sex more than anything else. Not long ago, we would blame men entirely for this phenomenon, but recent studies and statistics indicate a drastic rise in the number of women who consistently view pornography, as well as a disturbing number of women who have garnered at least one STD by the time they graduate high school.
Is sex bad? Absolutely not. God created sex for procreation and pleasure (Gen. 2, Song of Solomon), but He created it to exist within the confines of marriage. The moment it exists outside of the context God created it for, it becomes sinful, and by extension, an idol. In 1 Corinthians 6, Paul explains that while all other sins occur outside of the body, sexual immorality is a sin against the body. There is a spiritual aspect to sex that separates it from all other acts. A healthy sex life within the proper context of marriage not only produces satisfaction and happiness, but also fosters compassion, generosity, patience, and love between husband and wife. Sex outside of marriage (pre-marital, adulterous, or homosexual) may produce temporary pleasure, but also results in disease, broken homes, broken hearts, jealousy, rage, emotional trauma, and long-term trust and abandonment issues, not to mention psychological concerns that may accompany each of these issues.
We see this exemplified in 2 Samuel. While David was a great king, and even a man after God’s own heart, he too proved to be susceptible to the idol of pleasure. Without considering the long-term consequences (or offense against God), he recklessly sought to satisfy his own desires with Bathsheba, which only resulted in further sin. David’s idolatry “displeased the LORD,” and it came with consequences all its own. As Nathan confronts David, the LORD speaks, saying “Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house. And I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun” (2 Samuel 12:11-12). David repented, but the consequences for his idolatrous act remained. He let the fire out of the fireplace, and it burned his house to the ground.
One of the most beloved figures of the Bible, a man who loved God and was devoted to His work, David found himself bowing down at the altar of pleasure.
Where have you been bowing lately?
“Flee from sexual immorality.” 1 Corinthians 6:18