1 Kings 12:28 – So the king took counsel and made two calves of gold. And he said to the people, “You have gone up to Jerusalem long enough. Behold your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.”
After the kingdom of Israel split from the house of David and tribe of Judah, Jeroboam became king of the 10 breakaway tribes. Jeroboam knew that, if the people of Israel regularly returned to Jerusalem to the temple for worship, they would eventually return to the house of David because of the promises of God. So Jeroboam, to try to save his own skin, set up two idols, calling Israel to worship them.
What catches my attention about what Jeroboam said is the fact that he claimed to the people that those two golden calves that he just made were the gods who let Israel up out of Egypt. They did not! Idolatry, simply put, is to worship something or someone other than God. It is to give something or someone the glory that only God is due. In this instance, it is also to credit something or someone with something that God did. Such an action is a great sin before our God. God will not share his glory with another. He created us for himself, and for us to bow to something that we made is to ultimately dishonor him.
Now, the question that I want to ask us this morning is, how do we give glory and credit to people and things for the works of God? This is an area worth searching out and eradicating in your life. Is there something that you have taken credit for that, looking back, only God could have accomplished in you? Is there something that you have given people credit and glory for doing that should rightly belong to God? When things go right politically (a rarity, I grant), do you credit the party or the Lord who establishes all authority? When souls are saved, do you credit the evangelist, the seeker, or the sovereign God who changes the hearts of people dead in sin? When you hear an excellent singer or musician, do you glorify the talent or the God who gave the talent?
Anytime we honor people and things above the God who made them, we are very close to the sin of idolatry. Let us learn to be incredibly careful with our words. Let us not be so careless as to ever allow anyone to have the impression that we credit anyone other than God for the glorious things that happen in this world. Let us honor him as he deserves, and let us never fall pray to idolatry.
Dear Lord, I pray that you will protect me and my heart from idolatry. I acknowledge here and now that every good and perfect gift comes from you. I recognize that I have no wisdom, no skill, no talent, no ability that did not come from you. I thank you for all that you have given to me, and I pray that I will use it only for your glory. I also recognize that all good events in this world, all good decisions of governments, all good and beautiful things in creation are from your hand. Help me to always remember to give you the glory due your name.