For the worship of idols not to be names is the beginning and cause and end of every evil.
In our contemporary world, idol worship is not something we consider very much. We are far too 'sophisticated' and modern for idolatry to be a threat to our faith. Or are we?
Luther reminds us that anything in which we place our trust and hope is our god. And by definition in Scripture, any god that is not the one true God is an idol. With that background, I think we today are every bit as prone to idolatry as were the 'unsophisticated' ancient Israelites and their surrounding neighbors. However, instead of worshiping Molech or one of the Baals, we have our own panoply of modern gods / idols in whom we place our trust and hope.
Though we don't use the word 'worship' to express our reliance and adoration, all too often we are quick to replace God with other gods, like:
- money (in whatever form, be it our paychecks, our savings accounts, our 401k, etc.)
- jobs and vocation
- government and politics
- relationships and popularity
Here's the kicker. None of these things is bad, in fact, quite the opposite. The problem stems when we replace our trust and hope in God with our reliance upon them for our security, joy, and future.
As the writer of Wisdom says later on:
But you, our God, are kind and true, patient, and ruling all things in mercy...To know you is complete righteousness and to know your power is the root of immortality.