We Have Filled the Temple with Idols
…the whole land is filled with idols, and the people are madly in love with them.
—Jeremiah 50:38 (NLT)
Here we have a portion of the prophetic judgment which Jeremiah proclaimed over the mighty Babylonian empire at its crescendo of prominence. Babylon was the nation that overcame its neighbors and subsumed them into itself as it metastasized into an ancient world power. As it expanded, the only thing that surpassed its appetite was its hubris. Babylon’s tentacles eventually reached the Judean hills, reducing Judah to a vassal state before destroying it entirely (587/586 BCE), including its capital, Jerusalem, and its first Temple constructed by King Solomon (957 BCE).
Jeremiah had been prophesying in Judah for years regarding the consequences of rejecting Jehovah God and disobeying His commandments. When he saw his prophecies fulfilled, he was unable to rejoice. Never before had a seer been so undone by witnessing the accuracy and specificity of his prophetic utterances. The prophet could but weep as he witnessed his fellow Judeans perish in battle, die of starvation, succumb to disease, or limp away as prisoners of war to Babylonian captivity. It did not have to be this way. They could have headed the voice of God in His passionate pleadings.
Jeremiah was rejected and despised by the very people to whom God had sent Him. His enemies falsely accused him, abused him, arrested him, and imprisoned him. They were narrowly kept from killing him, and would have were it not that the Babylonians took Jerusalem first. In an ironic twist of circumstance, the captain of the Babylonian guard released Jeremiah from the chains which his own countrymen had bound him in.
Despite all this, Jeremiah’s dedication to his own people never wavered. Although he was offered safety and provision in Babylon, he did not go. Rather, he chose to stay with those who remained in Judah under the authority of a governor chosen by the Babylonians. Subsequent events brought Jeremiah to Egypt, where he eventually received and delivered a word of righteous condemnation against the Babylonian empire that had stretched out its hand against the apple of God’s eye.
A major precipitating event of Babylon’s downfall was the proliferation of idols within its borders. Largely because of the aggregation of people groups from numerous lands who were brought to Babylon as captives, and carried with them their own forms of worship. As Babylon continued to expand, it prospered above any nation or empire which preceded it. The conquests continued. The influence increased. It was the best of times, and it seemed it would last forever—until the entire enterprise crashed under the weight of its own corruption.
Although the official object of worship in Babylon was the god Marduk, there were seven other deities commonly worshiped as well. Combined with other less prominent gods, Babylon was indeed filled with idols.
It is my intention to make clear that Jeremiah’s dire warning applies to the current culture of contemporary America. It causes my heart deep distress to report that, like ancient Babylon, our nation is drowning in veritable ocean of idols, and—make no mistake—the people are madly in love with them. This derangement threatens to destroy and dismantle the very foundation stones of morality, of family, and of community upon which this nation was built and sustained. We are in mortal danger —This war is waged upon us from no external enemy, but from a vast and accelerating spiritual void which provides no guidance, no answers, and no hope for the adversarial forces we now face.
I did not say there was no answer. There is—but that answer will never be discovered in any further pursuit of the false gods catapulted to prominence in our culture. Idols litter the landscape, parade across platforms, peer from tabloid pages, seduce on social media sites, manifest through music, and revel in religion. With great purpose and effect they insert themselves into our daily lives by any and all means at their demonic disposal.
Idols require attention, and then abandon those who give them the attention they crave. They promise the rainbow, but only deliver the rain. They demand an unceasing supply of devotion and attention, finances, effort, and time that a worshiper can sacrifice. However, they give little or nothing in exchange. Their empty promises are the guarantee of false gods.
We must become weary of the vain pursuit, worn out from the smoke and mirror attractions which idols offer. Then and only then will we seek the resolution to our personal and national problems in the only place it can truly be found.
To read more from Rod Parsley's Idolatry in America, visit MyCharismaShop.com