Every man is stupid and without knowledge; every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols, for his images are false, and there is no breath in them. They are worthless, a work of delusion; at the time of their punishment they shall perish.
Idol worship is the preoccupation of ignorant people. And my heart can easily be one of those stupid idol worshippers. Yet the end result of idolatry is always disappoint and ruin. It can go no other way, for God judges the heart. He knows what people worship. He knows what I really worship. And He will rip away the appeal of idols to show us our delusional worship disorders and our utter need of only Him.
Our idols ultimately shame us. And the sad thing is that often we use the good gifts of God to build the idols that eventually perish and punish us. God gives us talent and ability and instead of using it for His glory, we lust after fame. The Lord blesses us with resources that provide for our families and help us promote His kingdom and His righteousness, and we horde our income to spend it on self, worshipping glittering trinkets until materialism fails to satisfy us.
Our world preaches to us that self-satisfaction is the measure of fulfillment, so we end up worshipping our own bodies, pleasures, and lifestyles only to find mortality, burnout, and dissatisfaction at the end of the pursuit. Our idols all bring these punishments to us. And sometimes the consequences are irreversible.
Why are we put to shame by the things and ideals that our hearts worship? The simple answer is... because they are not true. They lie to us. The idols lie. The people who promote contemporary idolatry lie to us. And they do so elegantly with all the existing media and means. Satan deceived Eve with a lie aimed at selfish grandiosity... an ego idol... and it worked spectacularly. Why would he stop now? That first lie echoes in every idol we are tempted to follow away from God.
Idols do not give life. "There is no breathe in them." They ultimately are death-bringers. And God has decreed that those who follow idols will perish in punishment. These words were written about pagan Babylon, but they applied equally to the captive Jews who suffered in Babylon due to hundreds of years of generational idolatry.
When we see the end of idolatry in the pages of scripture we are warned to guard our own hearts. Idols often start as good gifts and resources that our hearts corrupt. Our prayer should be, "Lord, save me from making anything You give me into an idol that draws my heart away from You."