I asked the Lord, “How are the sins of man today like those of former times?” As I continue to read in Isaiah and Jeremiah, pictures of idol worship on top of hills, under trees, and in the temple prevail. What’s going on here and what is the parallel?
As I examined earlier in the Scriptures, to worship simply means to bow down or to prostrate oneself. There are no exceptions to this position. Also, worship is most often a singular act though at times associated with service. It is the highest commandment of God that Jesus testified to in Matthew 4:10 and Luke 4:8, referenced back to Exodus 20:1-6.
When worshiping idols, how does one prostrate oneself upon the hilltops, under the trees, or in the temple? The answer is in the service. These idolaters committed adultery and fornication there with prostitutes. This act is committed in the prostrate position. It is ultimately an act of self-service, that is, worship of oneself. For that is the root of all idolatry. This is today as it was in the beginning according to Genesis 3:4-6.
Think of any sin and you will find at its core a service, an activity, a motion, that ends up or suggests a bowed down or prostrate position of one or more people. Some are obvious. Some are not. For instance, Jesus points out many subtle sins of prostration in Matthew 5, the Sermon on the Mount. How is anger (v. 22) such a sin? Jesus likened anger to murder. You murder someone and what position do they end up in before you? Right! Prostrate. Before you. Do you see the picture of this person at your feet? What is in your heart besides anger and murder? Pride! You are over that other person. They are bowed down to you.
“But I am no murderer,” you say, “and I’m not angry with anyone. And no one has ever bowed down to me.” Seems silly doesn’t it? We don’t see this happening on the street let alone a hilltop, under a tree, or in a temple, do we? Look again. What does God say about pride?
Pride puts the poor under your feet – Psalm 10:2
Pride puts God beneath you – Psalm 10:4
Pride in its arrogance and forwardness puts others beneath your tongue – Proverbs 8:13
Pride brings contention (the prefix ‘con’ making one against or beneath) – Proverbs 13:10
Pride conquers and destroys everything flat before you – Proverbs 16:18
Pride takes the spoils so that nothing is left to hold another up – Isaiah 25:11
Pride makes one drunk and fallen down (passed out) – Isaiah 28:3
Pride makes one believe he can bring God down – Obadiah 1:3
Pride of life (the little ‘I am’ vs. the Great I AM) – I John 2:16 (See how this verse ties back to Genesis 2!)