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Home » Idolatry – Part 1

Idolatry – Part 1

Given by Mike Yamamoto
I’m sure we’re all familiar with the popular TV show American Idol, inspired by the UK’s Pop Idol, which in turn was originally inspired by Australia’s Popstars. But even before Candice Glover, Carrie Underwood, and Kelly Clarkson, we were already very familiar with idol culture, regardless of where or which generation we’re from.

In Australia, from Kylie Minogue and Hugh Jackman to Olivia Newton John and Mel Gibson.

In Canada, from Justin Bieber and Rachel McAdams to Celine Dion and Michael J. Fox.

In the US, from Taylor Swift and Jennifer Lawrence to Michael Jackson and James Dean.

And in Japan, from Arashi and Ueto Aya to Matsuda Seiko and Kayama Yuzo.

The culture that we live in has promoted idol culture ever since the rise of mass entertainment. Thus, we are very familiar with idol culture, the practice of admiring famous, likeable people.

But what does “idol” mean (and not the narrower Japanese definition)? An online dictionary defines “idol” as a person or thing that is excessively and devotedly admired.”

So, why are we talking about idols? Because the Bible also mentions them. Of course, the Bible doesn’t talk about AKB48. Of course, we’re not talking about that kind of idol. But the Bible does talk about graven images and idolatry. And I think you’ll be surprised that our cultural practice of admiring and the Biblical sin of idolatry have a lot more in common than you think.

The Biblical definition of idolatry is the worship of anything other than the true God. In Biblical times (especially in Old Testament times), idols were often statues of false gods made of wood, stone or metal. Idolatry was, simply put, the worship of idols or what the Bible refers to as “graven images.”

Thus, the sin of idolatry might seem at first glance to be an outdated activity. But the Bible also teaches us that idolatry isn’t just bowing down to a pagan statue. In fact, idolatry takes place anytime we elevate something else—money, possessions, people, anything—as a priority above God.

So, I have to ask you. Are you placing anything as a priority above God? I want to challenge you to be honest with yourself. Don’t keep it general or hypothetical, because as Christians, its very easy to dismiss all of this and simply say, “No, of course not,” because we love God and we know that he’s supposed to be #1 in our lives. But what we know to be true isn’t always what we practice, is it?

As our teaching point for today, let’s look at the first item I mentioned in the previous expanded definition of idolatry: money

Are you placing money as a priority above God? The simple answer may be, “No, of course not.” But what if I were to rephrase the question to:

*1: Do you often spread cash all over your bed and roll around in it? If so, you have more than just priority issues.

*2: Is luxury or excess your motivation for wanting to make a lot of money? If so, I’d hate to say it, but most likely your contentment comes from materialism and greed, not God. And, bluntly put, your priorities are mixed up.

*3: Is comfort or security your motivation for wanting to make a lot of money? If so, again, I’d hate to say it, but most likely your priorities are mixed up, because you trust money more than you trust God.

Did you know that all American money has the phrase, “In God we trust” written on it? I think the original idea by the nation’s founding fathers, who were Christian, was to remind the American people that even though we have and need money, we ought not place our trust in it, because only in God are we to place our trust.

I need to expound on this point today, because this is very important. You may think that financial comfort and financial security are noble pursuits, not only for our own life but also for the sake of our kids and our family. They very well may be, but if the pursuit of money for the sake of comfort and security becomes what you trust more than God, then you’ve got a major problem of idolatry on your hands.

Take for example the Israelites. In recent months, Pastor Andrew has gone over the books of the Kings and the Chronicles in the Bible. I have a trivia question for you. In these books, what was the main downfall of most of the kings and of the nation of Israel and Judah? It was idolatry. Go back and read through what happened. Time and again, you’ll see a common theme. “So-and-so” did evil in the eyes of the LORD and worshiped…what?

Second trivia question. What did they worship? Asherah, Ashtoreth, and Baal.

Third trivia question. Do you know what these three gods represented? They all, in some way, shape, or form, represented fertility and/or weather.

The fourth trivia question. Why do you think this is significant? They were still largely an agrarian society, dependent on fertile soil and favorable weather.

Do you see the connection? Their life and livelihood depended on the crops. If their crop yield was scarce or damaged, they faced poverty, starvation, and even death. And so they chose to trust in the fertility and weather gods more than God. They were so concerned about their comfort and security, that they chose to trust in these so-called “specialty gods” over God.

Now connect that back to the trust issue we were talking about earlier. Do you sometimes wonder how the Israelites could be so dumb? Why did they keep falling into this cycle of idolatry, even after facing all of the horrible consequences of their unfaithful actions?

Honestly, I can understand and sympathize. I don’t condone their actions at all, not even for a second. But you know what? We sometimes fall into the same trap ourselves, don’t we? Because we, too, for the sake of comfort and security, rationalize and reason that our life and livelihood depend on it. Except for us, not on fertility and weather anymore, but on what? On money.

We need money to live. Yes, that’s true. We are dependent on money to support our livelihood. Yes, that’s true, too.

But when and how did we come to trust in money more than God? When and how did money become our motivation for comfort and security? When and how did money become our idol? We have to be willing to ask, answer, and ultimately resolve these tough questions if we are truly serious about loving God and being devoted to him.

As Christians, God is supposed to be our source of comfort and security. God is supposed to be our greatest priority, far more than the priority to try and make lots of money for comfort and security’s sake. As Christians, we’re supposed to trust in the comfort and security that only God can provide, not in the comfort and security that comes from money.

With money, trust is the key issue. That’s where the allure of money is really deceptive and tempting, because it causes us to question what is truly trustworthy. Nevertheless, we must remember the correct priorities. If we’re not trusting God above all else, then he is not our #1 priority. And if we’re not placing God as #1 priority, then we are guilty of idolatry. We are guilty of worshiping money, or as the Bible also calls Mammon, the god of money.

Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money (Mammon).” –Matthew 6:24

In the Bible, it seems God is very serious about the issue of idolatry, so much so that the first two of the Ten Commandments seem to directly speak against the sin of idolatry:

*1: You shall have no other gods before me.

*2: You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them.

So, I’ll ask once again. Are you placing money as a priority above God? Or, as we learned today, will you choose to trust in God more than money?


たぶん皆さんは American Idol と言う人気のテレビ番組を知っているでしょう。それは元イギリスの Pop Idol と言う番組からアイデアをとり、Pop Idol は実は元オーストラリアの Popstars と言う番組からアイデアをとりました。しかし American Idol の Candice Glover や Carrie Underwood や Kelly Clarkson の前からにも、私たちはアイドル文化をよく知っているはずです、しゅっしんや時代はかんけいなく。

オーストラリアの Kylie Minogue や Hugh Jackman、または Olivia Newton John や Mel Gibson。

カナダの Justin Bieber や Rachel McAdams、または Celine Dion や Michael J. Fox。

アメリカの Taylor Swift や Jennifer Lawrence、または Michael Jackson や James Dean。

そして日本の Arashi や Ueto Aya、または Matsuda Seiko や Kayama Yuzo。


でも「アイドル」と言う言葉のいみはなんでしょう(日本語で使われているいみだけではなくて)? Internet のじしょには「とくに、そしてちゅうじつに見上げられている人、または物」と書いてあります。

で、どうしてアイドルの話をしているかと言うと、聖書にもアイドルの話を書いてあるからです。もちろん、AKB48の話ではありません。もちろん、そのアイドルの事ではありません。聖書にはぐうぞう(英語で idol)とぐうぞうすうはいの事が書かれています。そして私たちのアイドル文化と聖書に書いてあるぐうぞうすうはいと言う罪が思うよりにているのでおどろくでしょう。

聖書には「ぐうぞうすうはい」と言う物は「一人しかいない本当の神様いがいの物をすうはいする事」と書いてあります。聖書の時代、とくにきゅうやく聖書の時代では、にせの神のぐうぞうは木や石やきんぞくで作られていました。だから「ぐうぞうすうはい」(英語で idolatry)はその通りぐうぞう(作られた物)をすうはいする(見上げる)事です。



今日のポイントとして、さっきぐうぞうすうはいについてせつめいした一番ポイントを見ましょう: お金


*1: ふだん、お金のさつをベッドにばらまいて、その上にころがりますか?もし「はい」であればゆうせんの問題のとこじゃない!

*2: ぜいたくにいきるために、たくさんのお金をかせぎたいですか?もし「はい」であれば、言いたくないけど、あなたのまんぞくは神様から来ていません。はっきり言うと、あなたのゆうせんはまちがってます。

*3: かけいを楽に、そしてあんしんにするために、たくさんのお金をかせぎたいですか?もし「はい」であれば、言いたくないけど、あなたのゆうせんはまちがってます。なぜなら神様よりお金をしんらいしています。



イスラエルの話を見ましょう。何ヶ月前から Andrew 先生は聖書のれつおうきとれきだいしについてメッセージをしました。Quiz をしましょう。王様たちとイスラエルの国のけってんは何でしたか?ぐうぞうすうはいでした。どうぞ時間があればぜひもう一度読んで下さい。何回も同じ事が書いてあります: だれだれが神様にたいして悪い事をして____をすうはいしましたか?

第2問題: 何・だれをすうはいしましたか? Asherah と Ashtoreth と Baal。

第3問題: この三つのにせ神は何の神でしたか?他のいろんないみもありましたが、三つともみんなこやしか天気の神でした。

第4問題: なぜこれがとくに大したじょうほうでしょう?この時、イスラエルはまだ農業の社会でした。もちろん農業は地のこやしと天気にたよる。










1: あなたには、私の他に、ほかの神々があってはならない。

2: あなたは、自分のために、ぐうぞうをつくってはならない。上の天にある物でも、下の地にある物でも、地の下の水の中にある物でも、どんなかたちをもつくってはならない。それらをおがんではならない。それらにつかえてはならない。