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9 Reasons Your People Struggle with Idolatry

8. Idolatry was indulgent.

Sacrificing to the gods did not often require sacrifice for the worshiper. Leftover food could be eaten. Drink could be drunk. Generosity to the gods leads to feasting for you.

9. Idolatry was sensual.

The whole system was marked by eroticism. Rituals could turn into orgies. Sex on Earth often meant sex in Heaven, and sex in Heaven meant big rain, big harvests, and multiplying herds.

Can you see the attraction of idolatry? “Let’s see: I want a spirituality that gets me lots, costs me little, is easy to see, easy to do, has few ethical or doctrinal boundaries, guarantees me success, feels good, and doesn’t offend those around me.” That’ll preach. We want the same things they wanted. We just go after them in different ways. We want a faith that gets us stuff and guarantees success (prosperity gospel). We want discipleship that is always convenient (virtual church). We want a religion that is ritualistic (nominal Christianity). Or a spirituality that, no matter what, encourages sexual expression (GLBTQ).

We all want to follow God in a way that makes sense to others, feels good to us, and is easy to see and understand. From the garden to the Asherah pole to the imperial feasts, idolatry was the greatest temptation for God’s people in both Testaments.

A look around and a look inside will tell you it still is.