by Mark Aites


Paul’s admonition to the brethren at Corinth was to, “flee from idolatry” (1 Corinthians 10:14).  Elsewhere in his teller to Colossae, he identified this malady as “covetousness” (Colossians 3:5).  Idolatry becomes covetous because one sets up a person or thing as an object of worship ahead of, or instead of God.

So often men have sought to limit the definition of idolatry to the worship of an image, and fail to realize that it is much broader in scope.  Since idolatry would put a person or thing before God, then there are many things which can be suggested.  For example, there are those who worship money (Cf. Matthew 6:24.) Also, there are people who worship the accumulation of possessions and live for material prosperity.  For others there is recreation, be it golf, or football, or fishing, or some other sport or activity.  (And tragically, in many cases, these things will be scheduled during worship service times.  And which do you think comes first? Unfortunately, all too often it is not the assembly with the saints.)  These things which come before God stand in strong contrast with what the Lord said in the sermon on the Mount:  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, And His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew. 6:33).

Knowing that the Old Testament is written for our learning (Romans. 15:4), there is a needful reminder of what God commanded Israel:  “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus. 20:3).  Should we believe that God would regard the modern idolatries of our day any differently?  Jesus taught, “...Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with alt thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matthew 22:37). To do so, would mean that God would have to be first and foremost in our hearts.

The admonition to “flee from idolatry” is therefore just as meaningful and applicable today as it was in the first century.  The dangers of such covetousness are ever present.