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Five Woes Against Tyrants: Woe #5-Idols

Habakkuk 2:6-19 – Part 6

In this next section of our journey through the book of Habakkuk, five woes are pronounced against the tyrants that take Judah captive. We will provide a short introduction in this post and address each woe in a separate post. This 5th woe addresses the idols the people worshipped.

Note: We encourage you to click the link above and read the section in Habakkuk this post will discuss prior to reading the post.

Fourth Woe: Habakkuk 2:18-19

“What profit is an idol
    when its maker has shaped it,
    a metal image, a teacher of lies?
For its maker trusts in his own creation
    when he makes speechless idols!
19 Woe to him who says to a wooden thing, Awake;
    to a silent stone, Arise!
Can this teach?
Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver,
    and there is no breath at all in it.
–Habakkuk 2:18-19 (ESV)

The Woe Against Idol Worship

Where the previous woe oracles focused on the violence and injustice of the Babylon nation, this last oracle addresses the futility of worshipping idols. This woe oracle is also different from the first four in that God does not pronounce a judgment.

Miller indicates that Babylon was a center of idolatry and that archaeologists have found at least fifty pagan temples in the ruins of the city. Their prominent gods included Marduk, Nabu, Sin, and Ishtar.[1] In these verses, Habakkuk makes fun of the ridiculousness of worshiping man-made idols.

What Good Is an Idol?

God addresses the futility immediately by asking, what good is an idol? Why would one even bother to make one and why would someone place their trust in something made by human hands? What can such a thing do for anyone since it is mute and worthless? It cannot give guidance. It has no life or breath. Idols have no more value than rock covered in silver or gold when it comes to aiding mankind through life. It cannot bring rain to water the crops or prevent disasters from happening. Nor can it bring prosperity and security to a nation. It is lifeless, useless.

The Idols We Worship Today


All of us are guilty of creating idols in our lives. Perhaps you worship God every Sunday, but you still have some idols that you are worshipping too. They may not be in a shrine or carved out of stone or cast into golden images – but we have idols just the same.

Webster’s Dictionary defines idolatry as 1) the worship of a physical object as a god or 2) immoderate attachment or devotion to something. Anything or anyone that we become so attached to that we give it a higher priority than we do God becomes an idol in our life, but yet that doesn’t quite complete the definition.

In Exodus 20:3 the command reads, “You shall have no other gods before me.” What God was saying is that we are to have no other gods other than Him. He is to be our ONLY God. If we bring anything or anyone else into God’s space in our heart, we make that thing or that person an idol. Perhaps it’s our children or a hobby. A career. Money. Our social life. Maybe even a ministry that God has called us to that has turned into an idol. Not all idols are bad things. It’s when we misprioritize them that they become an idol.

Idolatry is about Self

Ultimately, when it comes down to the nitty-gritty, idolatry is about self. We put our wants, desires, felt needs, dreams, and aspirations before God. They interfere with us spending time daily studying the Bible and praying. They become what we think about, spend money on, and devote our time to while neglecting our relationship with God. So how do you know if you have allowed something to become an idol? Here are some questions to ask yourself?

  • What keeps me from regular attendance at church?
  • Where do I spend the most of my time?
  • Where do I spend the most of my money?
  • What prohibits me from having a daily time of Bible study and prayer?
  • What is keeping me from having a thriving, growing, intimate relationship with God?
  • Take a look at your calendar or wherever you record your activities. What dominates your calendar?

Idols get in the way of Revival

Idols get in the way of the revival work of the Holy Spirit. So if we are to experience revival in America, it is important that each one of us take time alone with the Holy Spirit and ask Him about the idols we’ve created. You can no longer worship these idol in ignorance once He reveals them to you. Romans 1:24-25 teaches us, “Therefore God delivered them over in the cravings of their hearts to sexual impurity, so that their bodies were degraded among themselves. Because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever!

We need to exchange our idols for a revival

How do idols hinder revival? Idols exchange the truth about God for the lie of the idol that you worship. Do you believe your idol will bring you peace, happiness, contentment, love, joy? If you do, then, yes, you have exchanged the truth about God for the lie of your idol. You will only know lasting and true peace, happiness, contentment, love, and joy when you surrender your heart to God and make Him the God you worship with all your heart, mind, and soul. It is only in surrendering our idols that we will experience revival.

Forsaking Idols and Seeking God is the Beginning of Revival

From one man He has made every nationality to live over the whole earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live. He did this so they might seek God, and perhaps they might reach out and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. For in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring. — Acts 17:26-28

“Therefore, having overlooked the times of ignorance, God now commands all people everywhere to repent, because He has set a day when He is going to judge the world in righteousness by the Man He has appointed. He has provided proof of this to everyone by raising Him from the dead.” –Acts 17:30-31

If you have been worshiping an idol and unaware of doing so, the time of ignorance is over. The Holy Spirit may be speaking to you right now to repent and return or make God the God you worship with all your heart, mind and soul.

The Answer to Overcoming Idols

Now that you have identified some idols in your life, how do you get rid of them? Well, the answer isn’t necessarily to get rid of them. After all, if your spouse or children have become an idol, you don’t just toss them out. Instead, you must learn to love God more. Deuteronomy 4:29 says, “you will search for the Lord your God, and you will find Him when you seek Him with all your heart and all your soul.” Deuteronomy 6:5 says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”

This, my dear friend, is the answer to overcoming idolatry. Nothing else in life will satisfy you more or bring you true joy. Nothing else will give you peace in times of trouble. We were created for a purpose….to bring God honor and glory. Will you surrender your idols and allow God to be your ONLY God? If you’ve felt lately that you life is out of balance, that something is off, or that God feels far away, then its time to seek Him with a repentant heart.

[1] Miller, Holman Old Testament Commentary, 66.

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