Idolatry from Francis Harper
The first four of the Ten Commandments deal with our relationship with God. The six remaining govern our relationship with one another. The Ten Commandments are summarized in the Great Commandments, “. . . Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (Matthew 22:36-40).
It is clearly pointed out in both sets of commandments, that our love and devotion to God must be given first place in our lives. Whenever anyone, or anything, takes precedence over God in our love and devotion, we are guilty of idolatry. This is iniquity and sin.
God said to Moses: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me . . .Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image . . . Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them; for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate [do not love] me” (Exodus 20:3-5).
Similarly, Jesus said, “He who loveth father and mother more than me, is not worthy of me; and he who loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10). Jesus was not saying we should not love members of our family. He was saying our love for family should not supplant or supersede our love for God, the Lord Jesus, or his kingdom. It’s a matter of precedence: God first, others second, things and self last. As Jesus said, “Wherefore, seek not the things of this world but seek ye first to build up the kingdom of God, and to establish his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6).
From the beginning, mortals have had a great propensity to turn away from the worship of our invisible God and turn quickly toward idolatry. In the days of Moses, “. . . when people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, ‘Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we know not what is become of him [out of sight, out of mind]’ . . . and the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.
“And the Lord said to Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people . . . have corrupted themselves; they have turned aside quickly out of the way . . . they have made them a molten calf and have worshipped it and have sacrificed thereunto . . . And the Lord said . . . If they will repent of the evil which they have done, I will spare them, and turn away my fierce wrath . . . but upon all that will not repent . . . I will execute all that which I had thought to do unto my people” (Exodus 32).
Today, as we await the return of the great Prophet like unto Moses [Jesus] (Deuteronomy 18:18), will we continue to eat and drink and rise up to play? Will we say, as they, “We know not what has become of him.” Will we quickly turn aside to the worship of idols? A multitude of idols are tempting us to turn aside from God and the establishment of his kingdom. Idolatry is quite likely one of our greatest sins. Speaking of our day, God said, “Every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol . . . which shall perish in Babylon . . . which shall fall” (Doctrine and Covenants 1:3e).