Idolatrous Consequences

I testify and warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book [its predictions, consolations, and admonitions]: if anyone adds [anything] to them, God will add to him the plagues (afflictions, calamities) which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from or distorts the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away [from that one] his share from the tree of life and from the holy city (new Jerusalem), which are written in this book.
Revelation 22:18-19

What is Idolatry?

An idol is anything that replaces the one, true God – the God of the Bible. Essentially, you would be “adding to”, “replacing”, “distorting the image of” or “taking away” from God by resorting to an idol that you believe satisfies where God cannot, and upon this deadly sin brings a curse.

SIMPLY PUT: YOUR IDOL EMBODIES WHAT OR WHO IS MORE IMPORTANT TO YOU THAN GOD.

In 2 Chronicles 33, we are introduced to Manasseh, the son of a Godly man, Hezekiah, who became king at a mere 12 years old; father and son ruled their kingdoms in stark contrast. King Hezekiah led the people and his family in worship and fellowship with the Lord, destroyed idols, held fast to the Lord’s commandments, and put the Lord first in all that he did. King Manasseh, however, initially did not strive to please the Lord at all. King Manasseh did evil in the sight of God (v. 2) upon rebuilding idolatrous high places, alters for false gods, and murdering, or aborting, his own children.

because [by choice] they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator…”
Romans 1:25

Some people are happy having the appearance of being close to God. In verse 4, Manasseh built [pagan] altars in the house of the Lord (the church). He wanted to seem as if he was indeed spiritual and in fellowship with the Lord like his father, but in reality, culturism had taken root in King Manasseh’s heart. From Manasseh’s day to this very moment, God is daily insulted by people who enjoy the culture too much to destroy their idols, but they continue to go to church, His house, hoping that God will understand, approve of, or simply pay no heed to their divided heart.

Whatever it is that gives that feeling that we can’t live without
The joys we try to get that only God can give we highly doubt
What allures and arouses the heart we can’t figure out
But it’s the quickest way to account for what we prize
And are most proud about

Messiah, by Beautiful Eulogy

If you think about it, what or whom in everyday life do you depend on? Is it your job, money, your spouse/children, hobbies, goals, or technology? God has given us blessings in order to be a blessing, but we often turn and make general gods out of those blessings. God does not fall somewhere on a list when it comes to organizing who or what is first in your life. He should not even be number one on your list of gods. He should be the only God in your life. What does your heart long for the most? God has created many things for us to enjoy, which we should enjoy and praise Him for! But we shouldn’t allow those things to take the place of our satisfaction in the Lord.

But more than that, I count everything as loss compared to the priceless privilege and supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord [and of growing more deeply and thoroughly acquainted with Him—a joy unequaled]. For His sake I have lost everything, and I consider it all garbage, so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him [believing and relying on Him], not having any righteousness of my own derived from [my obedience to] the Law and its rituals, but [possessing] that [genuine righteousness] which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.
Phil. 3:8-9

So.
How do you go about dismantling the idols in your life? First comes first: repent. Acknowledge that God is God and you are not, that mere creation is not.  Is. 40:25 says, “‘To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?’ says the Holy One.”  You cannot love (insert idol) and God simultaneously. Loyalty cannot extend both ways and you will be a slave to one or the other. Secondly, what stands in the place of God in your life? Power, control, comfort, or approval? What elevates itself to the God-position? Get that figured out by honestly searching your heart as painful as it might be.

Now the Lord spoke to Manasseh and to his people, but they paid no attention. So the Lord brought the commanders of the army of the king of Assyria against them, and they captured Manasseh with hooks [through his nose or cheeks] and bound him with bronze [chains] and took him to Babylon. But when he was in distress, he sought the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. When he prayed to Him, He was moved by his entreaty and heard his pleading, and brought him back to Jerusalem to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God.
2 Chronicles 33:10-13

Humble yourself before God. Listen to Him.  In verses 10-13 Manasseh came to realize that when everything was taken from him, including these idols, what was the MOST important to him, he had nothing left. He’d hit rock bottom, and he had come face to face with the realization that God was only One who is faithful, who is the only One that could deliver him, the One who his father, King Hezekiah raised him to know. Manasseh couldn’t call on his gods to save him. Manasseh couldn’t even save himself. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. Ps. 51:17. Manasseh prayed to God with a repentant heart and God heard him. Manasseh then began to remove the foreign gods and their alters and give his praise and thanks to the Lord.

Ultimately, your idols will lead you to your ultimate demise. Upon King Manasseh’s death, his son Amon became king. Amon did the same despicable things his father had done except repenting before the Lord, and Amon was eventually killed by his own servants. The difference between father and son is that King Manasseh went to sleep in v. 20, whereas Amon is not described as having gone to sleep, but rather “struck down” in verse 24. King Manasseh’s life was ultimately preserved by the Lord whom he wholeheartedly worshiped, and Amon’s was not because he despised the Lord.

Pro tip: how do you determine what or who is an idol in your life? Consider Genesis 22. If God asked of you this day what was most important to you, would you be willing to give it up like Abraham did for the sake of the Lord?