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1 Corinthians 10:14-33   

Wednesday, 07 February 2024

Therefore, my beloved, run [keep far, far away] from [any sort of] idolatry [and that includes loving anything more than God, or participating in anything that leads to sin and enslaves the soul]. -1 Corinthians 10:14 [AMP]

In 1 Corinthians 10 the apostle Paul gives a clear warning to all believers from Israel’s past. Israel, God chosen people, whom He had brought out of slavery in Egypt and led through the wilderness with His divine protection and provisions, resorted to idolatry and angered God. Paul uses the example pointing to us to take heed of entangling ourselves with idolatry.

The very first commandment God gave to His people at Mt Sinai is “I am the LORD your God,….. You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:2&3). In emphasizing to His people who He is to them, He instructs them not to give their homage to any other gods and forbids making idols of things that would replace His preeminence in their lives. Isaiah 42:8 [NCV] reads: “I am the LORD. That is my name. I will not give my glory to another; I will not let idols take the praise that should be mine.” So it’s clear that God does not allow any other god or thing to take His place in the life of a person who has made Him “Lord.”

A particular point Paul took up with the Corinthian believers here was their participation in idol worship festivities where they would have been involved in partaking of the meals offered to idols. They would join in those festivities and also partake in the Lord’s Table of which Paul warns them thus: “…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?” (1Cor.10:20-22). Paul helps us to understand that though an idol or carved image is nothing, yet there is a spirit that works in them which when people give their worship starts to work in their lives. Every believer of Christ needs to take heed of this matter and avoid entangling themselves in festivities where idol worship is prevalent.

The matter of idols points us today to another aspect—all objects of worship in our lives replacing the Almighty God, is idolatry. It can take any shape or form- there can be idols in your life that are visible and those invisible in the heart. Those that worship physical objects have “…exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.” (Rom.1:23). There is also those who worship created things of who Paul says, They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.” (Rom.1:25). In this category, idols can be celebrities, your own “self” or other people you venerate. Besides, your fleshy unhealthy cravings, your ambitions, careers, etc – anything that can preoccupy your mind, devotion and allegiance much more than God Himself, can turn out to be an idol. The key verse in the Amplified version explains it well- idolatry includes loving those things more than God, or participating in actions related to them, leading to sin and enslaving the soul.

The lesson for us today is simple- Put GOD first in our lives! Everything else is secondary. Let us learn to cooperate with the Holy Spirit to weed out other “gods” that vie for prominence in our lives and stay clear of idolatry. May we not partake in things that bring dishonor to the Lord or provoke His jealousy. Instead may our wholehearted devotion be to Christ Jesus and giving glory to the Lord through our lives!

To Act on: “Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.” (1 John 5:21 NLT)



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