Killing Your Idols
All those who lived around Abraham including his family worshipped idols. In fact, his father, Terah, made statues as idols and sold them in his shop. There came a time in his life when Abraham didn’t believe in the idols the way everyone else around him did.
Let’s look at one of the midrashim that is written about Abraham and this change.
One day when Terah had to leave his shop for a while, he left Abraham in charge. Abraham didn’t watch the shop the way his father would have wanted. In fact, when someone came in to buy one of the idols, Abraham asked them how old they were. When they said they were, like fifty years old, Abraham would say to them, “Isn’t it kind of sad that a man who is fifty years old wants to bow down to an idol that is only one day old?” Every one of the customers left because they were ashamed, and they didn’t buy any of his father’s idols.
One day, a woman came into the shop and wanted to give an offering to the gods. She handed a basket of bread she had baked to Abraham so he could offer it to the idols. When he took a hammer and began breaking the idols, the woman ran out of the shop. He broke all the idols except for one, the biggest one. He put the hammer in the biggest idol’s hand and placed the basket of bread in front of it.
When Terah came back and saw all the broken idols, he was not happy. He looked at the pieces scattered all over his shop and asked Abraham, “Who did this?”
Abraham calmly responded to his father’s question. “I cannot hide the truth from you. A woman came into the shop. She had a basket of bread and gave it to me to offer to the gods. When I brought it to the idols, they began to fight with each other, each of them saying that they were going to eat the bread. The argument ended when the biggest idol took this hammer and broke all of the others.”
Terah looked at Abraham and asked him, “What in the world are you saying? Do these idols have minds that they can think? Did they come to life and fight as you have said?”
Nodding his head, Abraham said to his father, “Listen to what you are saying. They have no power at all, so why worship these idols made of clay and stone?” Another version of this midrash can be seen in this video.
Interesting question, huh?
When Abraham asked the man who was fifty years old why he would bow down to an idol that had been made just one day ago, he was asking a good question. He was forcing the man to see how useless it is to think that a manmade object could have supernatural power, no matter how impressive it may look. That same object was easily destroyed by a hammer because it had no power of its own.
It’s easy for you and me to see that it’s silly to bow down to a statue that was recently made because that’s not your idol. Your idols look entirely different. What, you say? You have idols? Yes, most people do. Anything that you place ahead of God is an idol. Anything that you do that prevents you from serving God as you should is an idol.
If you spend money that should be given to God as your tithe on something else, what you have purchased has become your idol. The item you purchased was more important to you than doing what God said should be done. If you spend time playing games on your phone or spend hours scrolling through your Facebook feed but don’t have time to read your Bible or spend time with God, that game or app is your idol. If having a part-time job is more important than going to your congregation’s services, money or your need for money has become your idol. Think about it ... what person, place or thing have you placed ahead of God? Come on ... really think seriously about this. It’s important.
If you’ve thought of one or more things, you’re not alone. Ever since Adam and Even decided to do things their own way instead of God’s way, we’ve all struggled. We look at our “wants,” and not God’s. That’s right, God has “wants.” He created us so He could have a relationship with us. He has done everything He could to make that relationship possible, including sending His Son to die on the cross for our sins. God wants to have a relationship with you. He could have created humans so that they didn’t have a choice, but He gave us a choice. What choice have you made? Do you want to have a relationship with Him? Do your actions show it? Have you placed Him first in your life?
Heavenly Father, I am so sorry for the things that I have placed ahead of You and my relationship with You. (Apologize for the specific things you came up with when asked what person, place or thing you have placed ahead of God.) I want things to be different between us. I want to have a deep relationship with you. Thank you for not giving up on me and continuing to pull me towards You. Thank you for dying for me on the cross, making it possible that we could have a relationship.
I was asked to create a set of devotionals for the youth in my congregation. If you enjoyed this devotional and want to read more or want to know the meaning of a term, click here.
© 2020 Cindy Murdoch