Bible Study: Idol distraction

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This week’s Bible study is adapted from The Gospel Project curriculum.

Bible Passage: Isaiah 44:1-20

Discussion Questions:

  • Why do people, even believers, succumb to the temptation of idolatry?
  • Why must we remember that every act in service to an idol is ultimately futile?
  • What are some of the empty promises of idols that only God can fulfill?

Food for Thought:

It could be argued that idolatry has been the single greatest plague upon humanity since the fall, greater than all the locusts and diseases combined. It could further be argued that the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden was one of idolatry in particular, not just a simple matter of disobedience.

 

What was Eve’s justification, and Adam’s by extension, for eating the forbidden fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? The fruit looked good for eating (an idol distraction from God’s abundant provision) and desirable for making Eve and Adam wise like God (making themselves an idol in the place of God). Our first parents prioritized themselves over their Creator and brought death to themselves and to all of us. The single greatest plague upon humanity – Adam and Eve’s decision to worship themselves as gods – has condemned all their descendants to the grave and eternal separation from God.

Many centuries later, the prophet Isaiah proclaimed the Word of the Lord during a relatively good time for the Southern Kingdom of Judah, but the Northern Kingdom of Israel was in its death spiral leading to its eventual fall to Assyria. And still, idolatry remained a struggle for both kingdoms in varying degrees until both met their demise in exile as God’s punishment.

One place Isaiah addressed this plague of idolatry was in a portion of his prophetic book focused on after the people had been deported to pagan lands. Through Isaiah, the Lord made the case that idols, whether local or abroad, are nothing but a dead distraction from the one true God.

Idols are a plague, but ultimately they have no life beyond what we give to them. The idols of today include fame, fortune, sex, success, our homes and our happiness, among a myriad of other things. If we make these things central in our lives, if these are the things we worship, God will do what is necessary to bring us back to Him and help us see that only He is worthy of worship.

This gracious work of God has culminated in the gift of His Son Jesus, the image of God, to save us from our idols, our penchant to chase them, and the consequences of death and judgment that follow in their wake. May we repent of all our idols and worship the one true, triune God alone, for He alone is living, gracious and worthy.

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