American Idolatry -
Is it a practice involving the majority?

What is Idolatry?

Idolatry is most commonly thought of as a practice of worship whereby someone ascribes to an image or some kind of statue qualities of godhood. Often times worship, ceremony of some nature, and/or reverence is directed toward this object. The Bible speaks warningly against practicing idolatry of this type.

Another form of idolatry is also mentioned in the Bible. This form of idolatry does not include specific objects openly. This form includes certain practices and loyalties which consume the time and energies of the practicing adherents. The more recent generation has entered into a practice of idolatry, which I would like to call the American Idolatry. This form of idolatry is described in Colossians 3:5-6 which says,

Col 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
Col 3:6 For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:
Col 3:7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.

This article focuses most on the issue of covetousness, although the other forms are equally as prevalent in our current society.

Idolatry is further described in the context of rebellion and stubbornness. In this passage rebellion and stubbornness are equated by the conjunction "and." It is suggested that rebellion comes first and that stubborness is the manifestation of a rebellious spirit. It is a matter of degree. Stubbornness is compared to iniquity and idolatry.  Note 1 Samuel 15:23.

1Sa 15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

Paul called the Athenians "too superstitious" or over religious without understanding. For they had altars to every known god and even one to the "unknown god." (Acts 17:16) Is your religion according to knowledge, that is according to the Bible, or is it too superstitious? At what altar do you worship? What is it that consumes your time and energies? What you worship also consumes the energies of your time.What you serve is what you worship. At what altar do you worship?

Paul commands his readers to "flee from idolatry." 1 Corinthians 10:14 says,

1Co 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
1Co 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
1Co 10:14 Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.

1Co 10:19 What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing?
1Co 10:20 But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.
1Co 10:21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils.
1Co 10:22 Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?

Idolatry is part of a list describing the works of the flesh. The term flesh is spoken of in this passage in a very unfavorable light. It is stated, "that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." Galatians 5:21.

Gal 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
Gal 5:20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
Gal 5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Idolatry is then defined as doing anything which is in contradiction to the will of God. This may be done knowingly or ignorantly. But when the will of God is apposed in ignorance or by a conscious act of the will, the practitioner is holding himself above God, or he is ignoring God, or declaring himself, indeed, equal to God. It is a marginalizing of your Creator. It declares Him unimportant. That is offensive. That is sin. That is idolatry.

The sorrows of idolatry

God warns what will happen to those who become involved in idolatry. In Psalm 16:4 God states that, "Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god:..."

Examples of idolatrous people and their characteristics of conduct.


Laban became the father-in-law to the patriarch Jacob. Though Laban was close kin to Abraham, he was an idolatrous man. We know this because his daughter Rachel, Jacobs wife, stole Laban's idols when they prepared to move away back to the land of Jacob's father Abraham. (Genesis 31:19 and Genesis 31:30)

Laban, the idolater, was a deceitful man. He gave Jacob his elder daughter Leah instead of Rachel on the wedding night. Then he required Jacob to work an additional seven years for Rachel to have her as wife also.

Laban oppressed Jacob by reason of covetousness. He quickly learned that God blessed Jacob with fruitfulness and blessing to his labors. He made every effort to cash in on the results of Jacob's labors as God blessed everything Jacob did. Therefore Laban changed Jacobs wages ten times to be enriched at Jacob's expense. (Genesis 31:41-42) 

"and covetousness, which is idolatry:" Colossians 3:5. Laban demonstrated his outward idolatry using images and also practiced inward idolatry by exercising the selfish meanness of covetousness.


Saul refused to obey the command of the Lord and complete his task fully and according to the command given him. When he was called into account by the prophet of God for his lapse of duty, he shifted the blame for his disobedience upon his subordinates. He gave the excuse of pressure of the opinions of the people. He also justified his disobedience by saying that he did what he did to better be able to worship God through sacrifices and also to enable him to praise and bring glory to God. God's response through his prophet Samuel was..

1Sa 15:22 And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

Saul committed the sin of rebellion which is a form of idolatry. Saul had an insufficient and diminished view of God. He feared the created beings (his subjects) more than he feared God, his Creator.

Remember who you are and who you will be standing before in the last day, the day of judgment. (1 Samuel 15 & Revelation 20:11-15) God says, "Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god:..." (Psalm 16:4) To fail to put the expressed will of your Creator above self desires all position you as an enemy of God. It will result in multiplied sorrows. Learn how to make your peace with God. Contact Pastor Steve Haasch at 724-548-4921 or Contact on the web.