THE WORD: Some beloved idol?

“Moses Smashing the Tablets of the Law” by Rembrandt (1659) is a painting in the collection of The Gemäldegalerie, Berlin. (Public Domain) 

“Because the whole land is filled with idols, and the people are madly in love with them.” Jeremiah 50:38

Have we not all in our various ways, set up some beloved idol . . .   something which engaged our affections, occupied our thoughts, to which we devoted all the energies of our minds, for which we were willing to labor night and day?

Be it money, power, esteem of men, respectability, worldly comfort, literary knowledge, there was a secret setting up of SELF in one or more of its various forms, and a bowing down to it as an idol.

The man of business makes money his god. The man of pleasure makes the lust of the flesh his god. The proud man makes his adored SELF his god. The Pharisee makes self-righteousness his god. The Arminian makes free-will his god. The Calvinist makes dry doctrine his god.

All in one way or other, however they may differ in the object of their idolatrous worship, agree in this: that they give a preference in their esteem and affection to their peculiar idol, above the one true God.

“Idols will be utterly abolished and destroyed.” Isaiah 2:18

There is, then, a time to break down these idols which our fallen nature has set up.

And have not we experienced some measure of this breaking down, both externally and internally?

Have not our idols been in a measure smashed before our eyes, our prospects in life cut up and destroyed, our airy visions of earthly happiness and our romantic paradises dissolved into thin air, our creature-hopes dashed, our youthful affections blighted, and the objects from which we had fondly hoped to reap an enduring harvest of delight removed from our eyes?

And likewise, as to our religion . . .  our good opinion of ourselves, piety and holiness, wisdom and knowledge, understanding and abilities, consistency and uprightness; have they not all been broken down, and made a heap of ruins before our eyes? 


Joseph Charles Philpot (1802-1869) was an influential English preacher and theologian who served as editor of the Baptist magazine The Gospel Standard for 20 years. His works are now in the public domain.