Biblical "High Places," Idolatry, and True Worship

Little children, keep yourselves from idols.
— I John 5:21

If you’ve studied Old Testament history, you likely recall the many references to pagan locations for worship called High Places - the Israelites were often commanded to destroy these evil distractions, and every time the disobeyed that command bad things happen.

When I spent six months in Southeast Asia back in 2006 and 2007, it was easy to see the correlation between this Old Testament history and present-day reality - idols of all sorts were everywhere, with little temples set up on people’s property that were filled with offerings in an attempt to appease the spirits and bring good luck.

But what about America? What about South Central Iowa in 2018 - do we have our own “high places” and false idols we bow down and worship? A bit of honest self-reflection should bring a humble answer of “yes, we have our idols we worship as well.” In my life, those idols would be comfort and ease - I want a life that is easy with little effort or sacrifice on my part. I want God to give me good things, but only from a comfortable distance - and that makes me as much of a sinner as the ancient Israelites.

Someone recently asked Randy Alcorn about the “High Places” in the Old Testament, which generated an excellent discussion about idolatry in our lives today. After giving a great overview of what those places were in Biblical times, he then turns to the modern-day idols so many of us still worship. In his conclusion he says:

May God give us His grace to recognize the idols in our lives, and, by turning to Christ alone and exalting Him, throw them to the ground where they belong.

Let’s tear down those high places in our hearts together!