Vain Idols

Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love. (Jonah 2: 8 ESV)


Vain idols always lie to us. They tell us that we know better than God what is best

for us.


Early in my missionary career, I was working in Hawaii. I was doing what I wanted and where I wanted to do it. Another opportunity surfaced that would eventually lead me to the backwoods of rural Virginia, which I did not want to do. One day, looking out over the blue Pacific Ocean, I sought the Lord’s direction. The Lord spoke to me from the Book of Jonah, and I knew which path to choose. After arriving in Virginia, I would tell someone I had come there from Hawaii. They would glance at me with this incredulous look and ask, why? My only answer was that God had led me there, and God always knows best.


Vain idols always cater to what we want, not what God wants. The Garden of Eden is the most graphic example of vanity choosing our idols. Genesis 3:5 ESV, For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” False gods lie to us to get our worship. They promise things they cannot do. Adam and Eve would never be as wise as God. 


Jonah gives a warning to all tempted to forsake the living God. He tells us that we abandon God’s mercy and love if we do. The pathway from this departure from God is always that of disobedience. Rebellion leads us to make gods of things that are not God. The great God that leads to the worshiping of all other gods is self-worship.


Are you on your way like Jonah (Jonah 1:3 NLT) to your own Tarshish? Have you concluded that you know better than God? God’s intentions for you are always for your highest good. Believe it, and you will see it, and obedience is always the indication of what you believe.

The image is used with permission from Microsoft.

Ken Barnes is the author of “Broken Vessels,” published in February 2021, and “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places” published by YWAM Publishing in 2011.

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