Brother Michel Lankford

Today’s Question: Why Does God Forbid Idolatry?

The Short Answer: There is NO OTHER God but YHWH Almighty God. Whenever people attempt to worship something other than Yahweh almighty God, they are worshipping a DEAMON. They are not worshipping another god at all. They are worshipping a fallen Angel and a servant of Satan. For obvious reasons, God does not want us to worship demons. Because He does not want us living with demons for all eternity…

As It Is Written: “Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons. Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He? (1 Corinthians 10:20–22 NKJV)

False Assumptions that People Make.

•             People FALSELY assume that the reason that God forbids idolatry is because of his Ego or His pride.  They falsely accuse God of the wrongdoing.  They falsely assume that God forbids idolatry, because god is supposedly being greedy.  He wants all the power, all the honors, all the Glory and all the recognition for Himself.  Supposedly, got forbids idolatry to protect his pride and to protect His ego.  Many people may not say out loud, but that is what they are truly thinking based on the way they talk about the situation.  That is a false accusation.  It is character assassination against God.  When God forbids idolatry, He is truly doing it for our protection, and NOT for His own gratification.

•             People FALSELY assume that the reason that God forbids idolatry is because YHWH Almighty God only wants people to worship Him in order to increase His own power.  They falsely assume that the more people that worship the Creator, then the more power that Almighty God has.  That is a false belief system, and a mythology that is often proposed by fantasy TV shows, and more than a few video games.  However, it is not even close to true.  The reality is, that God is Who God is.  All of creation belongs to God.  Let’s say that 100% of the world population sincerely worshiped the Almighty Creator in spirit and in truth.  Now, god would richly bless us beyond all measure if that were the case, but god’s power and His authority would still be a 100% God would NOT become MORE God, even if everyone on earth worshiped and honored Him, as we should.  The reverse is also true.  Even if 0% of the population honored and worshiped the real God, God’s power and authority would not be diminished or reduced in the slightest, even if we were all stupid and nobody worshiped God, God would not be any less God than He is already.  Our worship does not turn God into God.  He is God already.

•             People falsely assume that the reason that God forbids idolatry is because He is being mean.  They make the FALSE assumption, that if God were truly a good God, then He would let everybody into heaven, regardless of what they worshiped, regardless of what they believed, and no matter how they lived their lives.  From their divisional point of view, the fact that god any restrictions on people makes him a, “narrow minded bad God, who should not be honored and respected, because THEY find His Standards to the offensive.

It has become a perverted role reversal, as if people believe they have the right to sit in judgment of Almighty God as if we get to determine whether He’s worthy to be God or not.  It’s human pride and insanity masquerading as wisdom.

It is absurd in the extreme. Nevertheless, that is literally the perverted mindset that our culture is developing today.  I believe that it is a satanic attempt to make godliness and discipleship impossible; because they are setting people up to believe that if they are unhappy then God should change; instead of expecting that we should be changed to make God happy with us.

Before we go any further, let us get ourselves firmly established in this principle. If there is ever any point where you or I are having any sort of disagreement with God; God is ALWAYS right, and we, the human beings, are the ones who are wrong. We are the ones who need to change, and not God.

As It Is Written: “For I proclaim the name of the LORD: Ascribe greatness to our God. He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He. (Deuteronomy 32:3–4 NKJV)

As It Is Written: “As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. (2 Samuel 22:31 NKJV)

You may also wish to look at Psalm 19:7-14, Which makes similar declarations.

So, before we start getting it into our heads to judge God as if somehow God was wrong that He forbids idolatry, Let us remember that God is always right. IF there is a problem we are the ones who are in the wrong, and not God. We are the ones who need to change, because God is already perfect, and we are not yet perfect. God does not need to change but we do.

 Now I realize that to most sensible people, this concept should be a no-brainer, but alarmingly, I find it what should be this patently obvious principle is becoming increasingly less common knowledge, almost by the day.

Don’t Forget that God Loved us First.

“Then God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” (Exodus 20:1-2).

Those two verses are absolutely critical because they reveal something massively important about God’s true character. God does require that we love, believe and trust, obey and glorify Him. The thing is, that He does not require us to enter into such a relationship blindly. He is asking all of this from people to whom He has already powerfully revealed Himself, and to those whom He had already rescued from bondage. Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, when God gave or restated a command, He would often remind His people of what He had already done for them.

We serve the One True God who created heaven and earth and everything in them (Genesis 1:1; Revelation 4).

We believe and serve the One True God who ever since mankind sinned, He promised to send a Redeemer that would crush the serpent through the seed of the woman; (meaning a virgin birth Genesis 3:15). We believe and serve the God of Isaac Abraham and Jacob, who revealed Himself to Moses and identified Himself as I AM THAT I AM (YHWH). Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures YHWH, the real God demonstrated Himself faithful to the people of Israel, and by extension He will be faithful to the rest of us as well. In the fullness of time, God came through with His promises. The Israelites did inherit and possess the land of the Canaanites. Likewise, when they rebelled against God, He punished them just as He told them He would. When they repented He would also restore them as He promised He would. In the fullness of time God did in fact fulfill His promise and send the Messiah Jesus Christ (Matthew 1; John 20:31). Why would God do this? God promised that because He loves all people (including sinners John 3:16-17), and He wanted humanity restored. That is why we are called to obey and trust God, because He has already repeatedly demonstrated that He is God, and that He is faithful to His promises.

So when God commands something, we had better take it seriously. We had better believe it. Most importantly, our belief had better manifests itself into obedience. God is good. He is faithful, and He is worthy of nothing less than our love, trust, and obedience.

As It Is Written: “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10 NKJV)

 It is worth remembering that before God ever required any obedience from the human being, He first demonstrated that He loved and cared for us.

•             He did it in the Garden of Eden, when He provided a perfect place.

•             He did it with Israel when he powerfully deliver them from slavery and bondage in Egypt.

•             He did the same type of thing with us, when he provided Messiah to be the atonement for our sins in our place.

Why does God hate idolatry so much?

Scripture openly tells us to flee from idolatry (1 Corinthians 10:14). Elsewhere, Scripture tells us to kill it out of our beings (Colossians 3:5). The reason is that the consequences of idolatry are absolutely fatally disastrous for the human being. People who live a life of practicing idolatry will go to hell (Galatians 5:19-21; Revelation 21:8). So all forms of idolatry must be removed out of our lives, or it will destroy us. What Scripture does not so readily spell out for us is why. Why does God hate idolatry so much that He judges it so harshly?

Since Scripture is somewhat ambiguous on that point as to why God hates idolatry, many self-serving individuals, atheists even marginal Christians have used it in such a way as to actually judge God as if He were wrong, or they will use it as a flimsy excuse to attack God’s character and give themselves an excuse for not following God.

The most famous of these is Oprah Winfrey. She has openly declared that she was a Christian but when she learned that God was a ‘jealous God,’ she claimed that she could no longer follow God of the Bible who could be jealous, but who commanded us not to give into jealousy. In effect she judged God, and then using her own judgment gave herself a rationale not to follow God anymore. First, it is an extremely dangerous practice to judge God. Second, it is extremely dangerous prideful and arrogant to believe that your judgments and estimation about God are so accurate, that you can actually find God guilty of sin and that your own judgments against God gives you the justification, not only to stop following God, but also to actually encourage others to abandon God as well.

Scripture doesn’t spell out precisely why God forbids idolatry, but there are Scriptures that give us some concrete clues if we will take the time to prayerfully put the pieces together. Before we can explore this question in earnest, we have to remember some very important concepts.

1.  Almighty God is the living definition and embodiment of pure love. He IS love (1 Corinthians 13:4-8; 1John 4:8). Also, God is absolutely 100% righteous (Psalm 19:1-9 among other verses). As a result of this, Almighty God cannot and will Not desire anything, say anything, or do anything that is outside the confines of pure love and righteousness. People may foolishly wish to reject this truth, but it is the truth of the matter. Therefore, when God issues a command, instruction, or an injunction. True love and righteousness are His only motivations and modes of operating.

 In practical terms, what that means is. That if God forbids idolatry, His only motive for doing so is that He Loves us. It is the same reason why you don’t let a child that you love French kiss an electrical socket, regardless of how big a charge they might get out of it. That is because you know that if you did, it would kill them. You don’t want a kid that you love to destroy themselves with foolishness, so you don’t let them do that stupid thing.

2. We were uniquely created by God. Everything else in God’s creation he created by speaking the words of His mouth (Genesis 1). That’s powerful. What is more powerful is how human beings were created. Scripture points out that the Almighty God and Creator actually physically formed human life, and then breathed life into Adam’s nostrils (Genesis 2:7). In God’s original plan we were created in the very image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26-27). Like it or not, that makes us unique in all of creation, and along with such uniqueness comes a greater responsibility before the Creator.

3. God created us with the purpose and mission in mind (Ephesians 2:10). The first was the dwell in loving friendship with Him. Scripture gives indication at the time of humankind’s fall into sin, that before they sinned, Adam recognized the voice of God and walked with Him in the cool of the day in the garden of Eden (Genesis 3:8). Even on the day of our fall into sin, God was looking for His beloved creation (Genesis 3:9). God’s second general purpose for humanity was that we would dwell in loving relationship with one another, and thirdly that we would exercise loving and righteous dominion and stewardship over the rest of His creation, so that his love and righteousness would first be embodied in us and would spread throughout the world.

4. Scripture expressly says that we can be angry without falling into sin (Psalm 4:4; Ephesians 4:36). Now it is not easy to be angry without falling into sin, but it’s possible. If righteous anger is possible for fallen human beings, is it so hard to believe that righteous jealousy is impossible for the Almighty God? In fact righteous jealousy is even possible for human beings. I will give you an example.

Let’s say that you were a parent. You had a child who was God’s gift from heaven to you. He or she is a gift to you from God; the love of your life, the joy of your heart and the apple of your eye. Your desires for the little one are that they would grow and develop the character that would help them make the best decisions so that they could be blessed and prosper in every respect. As your precious little one grows, let’s say that you notice that they’re choosing friends and companions that indulge in dangerous habits such as drugs, alcohol, stealing or gang banging and the like. Wouldn’t your heart be grieved? Would you not crave with all your heart that they would choose to listen to you and your plans and desires instead of obeying their misguided friends? If you love that child, of course you would! You would rather that your children would listen to you and be attracted to things that will truly bless and prosper them instead of things that can hurt them? That is a picture of righteous jealousy.

God understands a reality that we as human beings often forget and it is this. We will develop into and take on the character of whatever we worship follow or obey.

If we learn to worship the true and Almighty God in spirit and truth as God desires (John 4:24), Then we will begin to take on and exhibit the character and nature of God the Heavenly Father, as we were originally created to do (Genesis 1:26-27). Conversely, if we fall into and persist in idolatry, we will take on the character and nature of whatever counterfeit god (which is always a demon in disguise) that we have chosen to follow. Always remember, we will take on and develop the nature and character attributes of whatever we choose to follow obey or worship (Romans 6:16-17). This is why God’s word repeatedly refers to idolatry as defiling a person or a country. That’s because it damages the internal fiber and character of the human being (Psalm 106:39; Jeremiah 3:9; Ezekiel 23:38; Hosea 6:10).

So, you see God does not demand or require our worship for His own sake, but for ours. Let me be abundantly clear. YHWH, IS God. He is not elevated into His place because of our worship. God does not become more God simply because a greater number of people worship Him. He already is God. If every single person on the face of creation successfully worshiped YHWH in spirit and truth right now, we would all be immeasurably better off by leaps and bounds, because of the blessings this would bring us, but God’s position would not improve, for He would still be as much God, just as He was before all creation worshiped Him.

Conversely, God forbid, if all humanity willfully refused to worship God, (again God forbid 8 billion times), God’s majesty and truth would not be diminished. God would nonetheless judge the living and the dead on the last day. In the end He would still be demonstrated to the whole world to be God, He will not lose or forfeit a single inch of His Majesty or right to rule and judge, but we would all lose immeasurably for having failed to honor Him as God while we lived.

There is a spiritual law that tells us that we will take on the character of whatever we worship. So, if we worship demons or false gods, then we will take on the nature of the character and the attitudes of demons; and we will live with demons for all eternity. Conversely, if we worship the one true God, then we will take on the character and nature of His Righteousness, and we will live with the Almighty Father, for all eternity.

Idolatry damages us. Idolatry defiles us. Idolatry corrupts our heart and character. It prevents us from becoming what God originally created us to become. Idolatry seriously damages human potential in ways not yet understood by man. All of this grieves God because He loves and cares for us so much and wants the very best for us, but God is not diminished one iota.

When God forbids idolatry, He does so for our sake, out of love and concern for our potential and well-being, not His own. Praise God we live in a country where we have the freedom to pursue conscience. Accordingly, we must regularly make the choice as to what we will follow, what we will obey and what we worship. As you are making that choice, ask yourself this question. Whose character do I want? Who do I want to live with for all eternity?

Thank you for your kind attention

Brother Michel Lankford