Resisting the Power of Idolatry by Phillip Ryken
One of the things that has really helped me understand the power of idolatry in our own time and place is, strange to say, the plagues in the book of Exodus. One of the things that was amazing for me to discover is that all of the plagues in Exodus relate to gods that the Egyptians worshiped.
Just to give one example: the first plague was blood in the Nile River. The Nile was everything to the Egyptians. It was the source of their economy—it was like what Wall Street is for America’s economy. One of the things that God was showing—and Exodus is explicit about this in a few places—was his glory over the Egyptians and their gods.
In the story of Exodus you see God not just gaining a victory over people like Pharaoh, who had set himself over and against God and God’s authority, but actually over all the things the Egyptians worshiped.
It’s a little scary to think about but I think that’s a lesson for our own time and place. All of the things that we worship—power, money, sex, whatever idolatries we have in our own time and place—all of those idols are going to be defeated.
Ultimately, all of those idols are going to let us down, they are going to disappoint us, and they are only going to be a source of frustration. This is actually good news, because God doesn’t want us to worship those things; he wants us to worship him alone.