Household Idols

…the household gods utter nonsense…

– Zechariah 10:2

As people, we are prone to follow something. In fact, if you really dig down on it, we are never not following something, even if it is your own preferences and passions.

We are constantly making choices based on the values and promises of the things we see around us. Consider this example. Two people trying to figure out where to eat for dinner. In the conversation, one may say that anywhere is fine and that they do not care where they eat. Until a place they don’t want to go is suggested. At that point, the person who did not care, and was open to anything, surprisingly does care and sends the dinner debate to another round. 

So why did the person suddenly care and go back on their statement of being open to anything? Because the food at the suggested place promised little or no value to their dining experience. It is because they are following something. They are following their taste buds, or their experience of bad service, or that their friend got sick after eating there last time. If they were truly free, they could say yes to any suggested place with no fear of a bad experience. But they cannot, they have to follow.

This following is how we live our lives. Selecting or rejecting everything based on its value to us. That is all well and good, and there is no problem with living like that. We were designed to live like that. The problem comes in the truth that we can be deceived. Things can promise a value that they cannot deliver and we get fooled by it. This is why we end up eating bad tacos at the place your buddy bragged about.

Now, when you look past tacos and restaurant selections for dinner and think of this reality on a deeper level, we find that we are all spiritual followers also. And something sinister comes into view–the reality of idols.

So, what is an idol? Well, when you get down to the center of it, it is something you see as more valuable than God by seeing its promises more trustworthy and more desirable than God’s. It is something you will follow expecting to meet a need rather than following God.

Zechariah had some things to say about idols. Coming right after admonishing God’s people to go to God with their needs, he compares our Lord with trusting in idols:

For the household gods utter nonsense, and the diviners see lies; they tell false dreams and give empty consolation. Therefore the people wander like sheep; they are afflicted for lack of a shepherd. – Zechariah 10:2

The things of this world, including our own lusts and passions, that make promises to us and entice us to trust and seek them above our God, they utter nonsense! They lie and give us false expectations! Their consolation as we mourn is empty! When we buy into these promises, we wander and find ourselves afflicted for lack of a shepherd. We are treasuring dirt and casting away a diamond. We have more faith in the promise of pornography than God. We have more faith in telling the lie to save us than God. We have more faith in the acceptance of others than God. We have more faith in our bank account that God. We have more faith in _____ than God. What goes into your blank? Don’t buy into the lies of idols! Following them, even the idol of self, will lure you right to the depths of hell!

Don’t let the idols of your heart remain! God gave his people clear direction on fighting the idols in their midst.

You shall tear down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and burn their Asherim with fire. You shall chop down the carved images of their gods and destroy their name out of that place. – Deut 12:3

What are you doing to destroy the idols who keep making inferior promises in your heart? Chop them in pieces and burn them with fire! Chop them with the word of God, filling your mind and heart with both the rich promises and strict warnings of God. Then burn them with fire in prayer pleading with God to ignite your faith, love, desire, and trust in God above everything else! 

Satan devotes 168 hours a week trying to deceive you. Do you think you can maintain a renewed mind with a ten-minute glance at God’s book once a day? – John Piper

You have to get into his word and prayer! Then you get up and get things out of your life that have taken residence on the throne of your soul. There is only one who is worthy to sit there and lead you. Only one who will love you. Only one that can make you new. Only one that can give you life. His name is Jesus Christ!


Sunday Reflections are short articles that share thoughts from weekly Bible reading, devotions, sermons, or times of worship. Find more of them here.