A simple definition of idolatry is anything you love more or attribute your success to other than God. Judges 17 shows Israel falling into idolatry and moral decline. Israel, the nation that was to set the example for spiritual living, had instead become morally depraved. You would wonder how in the world did the people of Israel after seeing what God had done for them be this pathetic in their understanding of who God is. What are the symptoms of idolatry?
I – Independent from God
“In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes” Judges 17:6. Independent from God does not mean that you never turn to God. It means that you think you don’t need Him all the time. For the most part, God is outside of your life, and when you think you need Him then you invite Him in. We become independent when we never ask guidance from God in the first place.
D – Dependent on circumstances
What does it take to shake your faith? Don’t let the circumstance dictate what you’re doing to do. Idolatry can be as subtle as emotions, as subtle as desiring things. When you’re following God, you can count on Him, He will come to your rescue. But if you’re doing your own thing and involved in idolatry, this exposes your lack of trust in God.
O – Own authority
Is there a part of the Word of God you don’t believe, won’t obey, or you think is not important to follow? In Judges 17:9-10, Micah hires a Levite to be his priest. But in truth, God alone can appoint a priest. Micah did not have the authority to decide that and acted on his own. While Micah revealed the religious downfall of individual Israelites, this priest illustrated the religious downfall of priests and Levites.
L – Lustful
When you deal with selfish attitudes, it’s all built on desires for yourself. Judge 17:2 reveals that Micah stole money from his own mother. Covetousness is attached to lustfulness and lustfulness is always attached to idolatry.
A – Assumptions
What do you believe about God even though there’s nothing in Scripture that supports that? Assumptions can lead us to independence of God. In Judges 17:12-13, Micah rejoiced because of his assumption that having a Levite for his priest would bring blessings from the Lord, when in fact it was forbidden in the Law (Num. 3:10). Micah has decided he knows how God works and is making God in his own image.
T – Trapped
Examples of idols that trap you is when you decide you are going to make some money in your life and before you know it you become a slave to your money. You decide you want to to do well in your career, but if you seek success so much and you lose your walk with God and get tunnel-vision, you lose your family and friends just to become a CEO. Or it may be that the more you possess things, the more you’re possessed.
R – Religiosity
How close is the “public” you to the “private” you? This means we just have to focus on the outside of the cup (our outer person), and don’t worry about what’s on the inside (our inner person) because people will never see. That part is kept hidden from people. That’s surface living.
Y – Yoked
Does your walk with the Lord feel like a burden? Everybody who has even one idol in their life has a yoke. If you’re feeling burdened by the church or yoked to your ministry and not to Jesus, get close to Jesus so He can show you where to say no. The more aware we are of who or what our idols are, the greater chance the Holy Spirit has to help us.
– CCF Chronicles, 2 August 2015