Were it no bigger than a child's doll

(J. C. Philpot, "The Clean Water Sprinkled
and the New Heart Given
" 1866)

"I will cleanse you from all your idols." Ezekiel 36:25

Idolatry takes a wide range. There are 'respectable' idols
and 'vulgar' idols—just as there are marble statues, and
other objects of worship made up of shells and feathers.

And yet each will still be an idol.

Respectable idols we can admire—vulgar idols we detest.

But an idol is an idol—however respectable, or however
vulgar—however admired, or however despised they may be.

But O how numerous are these respectable idols!

Love of money,
craving after human applause,
desire to rise in the world;
all these we may think are natural desires that
may be lawfully gratified. But O, what idols may
they turn out to be!

But there are more secret and more dangerous idols.
You may have a husband, or wife, or child—whom you
love almost as much as yourself—you bestow upon
this idol of yours all the affections of your heart.
Nothing is too good for it, nothing too dear for it.

You don't see how this is an idol.

But, whatever you love more than God,
whatever you worship more than God,
whatever you crave for more than God,
is an idol.

It may lurk in the chambers of imagery—you may
scarcely know how fondly you love it. But let God
take that idol out of your breast—let Him pluck that
idol from its niche—and you will then find how you
have allowed your affections to wander after that
idol and loved it more than God Himself. It is when
the idol is taken away, removed, dethroned—that
we learn what an idol it has been.

How we hug and embrace our idols!

How we cleave to them!

How we delight in them!

How we bow down to them!

How we seek gratification from them!

How little are we aware what affections entwine
around them—how little are we aware that they
claim what God has reserved for Himself when
He said, "My son, give Me your heart."

Many a weeping widow learns for the first time that
her husband was an idol. Many a mourning husband
learns for the first time how too dearly, how too fondly,
how too idolatrously he loved his wife. Many a man
does not know how dearly he loves money until he
incurs some serious loss. Many do not know how
dearly they hold name, fame, and reputation until
some slanderous blight seems to touch that tender
spot. Few indeed seem to know how dear SELF is,
until God takes it out of its niche and sets Himself
there in its room.

the love of money
the love of name and fame—
these idols you cannot take with you into the courts
of heaven. How would God be moved to jealousy if
you could you carry an idol
were it no bigger than
a child's doll
into the courts above!

"I will cleanse you from all your idols." Ezekiel 36:25