King Nebuchadnezzar had a golden statue made.  It was ninety feet tall and nine feet wide.  He erected it on the plain of Dara in the province of Babylon. 

Daniel 3:1, New English Translation.

An idol is an idol, whether made of attractive gold or of ugly wood.  Idolatry goes beyond the material of the object, beyond the aesthetic appeal or repulsion of it.  It is in the link it has to the human soul.  

An idol could be an imposing image 90 feet tall and 9 feet wide, in burnished costly gold in plain sight of all in the open plains of Babylon, it would still be no less an idol than the little totem from the sacred place, preserved in the secret room for its spiritual potentials in aid of frail mortals.

Idol worship might be aided with alluring popular music, with a great empire backing it, and a retinue of noble adherents and other political dignitaries.  Nebuchadnezzar’s idol was backed with a stern government policy.  It was a new fad in town, a new ‘cultural’ and ‘identity’ revolution championed by the rich and mighty, but the profile of those who bowed to it made it no less abominable to God  (Daniel 3:1-7).

Sometimes, at the risk of fire, only an unpopular minority in a kingdom of many might see an idol for what it truly is and dare to call it out (Daniel 3:9-14).  The majority has not always been right.  An idol might have a multitude of timid and frightened followers, or others who bow to it out of political convenience.  It still does not make it right.

All idols don’t come as reprehensible wood or some spooky, bloodied effigy.  Sometimes they come in costly shiny gold, or as flamboyant royalties on proud podiums, daring to drink from God’s hallowed jug of adulations (Acts 12:22-23).  Idols in gold – that is not cheap at all.  Idolatry could be expensive, it would still be very costly.

Idols don’t make themselves; it is humans who ‘make’ them, who fashion them, or who take what has already been made out there and re-make it, elevating it beyond its nature, to that place where the makers accord to it powers over themselves.  Some idols are men; some idols are materials.  The second of the Ten Commandments is clear: “Thou shall not MAKE…” (Exodus 20:4).  The making could be physical, but not always so.  Sometimes it is mental.

O Lord my God, I reserve my knees to bow only to You.  Keep me from all idols, even those made in attractive and costly gold, in Jesus name.  Amen.

From The Preacher’s diary,
August 14, 2022. 

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