Idolatry is an issue all over the Bible. All the prophetic books tackle the issue, and most of the historical narrative books as well. If you’re reading anywhere the Old Testament, it’s likely that you’re reading about idolatry; man setting up gods for themselves other than the one true God.
I wonder how far off from idolatry we are today. Although God, through sending captivity and exile upon his people, successfully purged Judah from the worship of inanimate objects in the 6th Century B.C., it’s just hard for me to believe that an issue so entrenched in human history would ever be gone entirely.
Idol worship seems primitive to today’s Western vantage point. Christian or not, we’d resonate quite readily with God’s words through Isaiah, narrating the scarcity of reason in forming an idol.
14 He cut down cedars,
or perhaps took a cypress or oak.
He let it grow among the trees of the forest,
or planted a pine, and the rain made it grow.
15 It is man’s fuel for burning;
some of it he takes and warms himself,
he kindles a fire and bakes bread.
But he also fashions a god and worships it;
he makes an idol and bows down to it.
16 Half of the wood he burns in the fire;
over it he prepares his meal,
he roasts his meat and eats his fill.
He also warms himself and says,
“Ah! I am warm; I see the fire.”
17 From the rest he makes a god, his idol;
he bows down to it and worships.
He prays to it and says,
“Save me; you are my god.”
As primitive and irrational as this would also be to us now, it wasn’t to them then, leading me to wonder if we have our own present day versions we’re blinded to. I suppose anything could become an idol – food, love, sensation, surplus, leisure; or the object for each that we’re most attached to. Whatever form it takes, I’m sure idolatry is out there. That which we most enjoy, we most seek to consume, which in turn is positioned to consume us.