Come, descendants of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord! For the Lord has rejected his people, the descendants of Jacob, because they have filled their land with practices from the East and with sorcerers, as the Philistines do. They have made alliances with pagans. Israel is full of silver and gold; there is no end to its treasures. Their land is full of warhorses; there is no end to its chariots. Their land is full of idols; the people worship things they have made with their own hands.
So now they will be humbled, and all will be brought low—do not forgive them. . . . For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has a day of reckoning. He will punish the proud and mighty and bring down everything that is exalted. He will cut down the tall cedars of Lebanon and all the mighty oaks of Bashan. He will level all the high mountains and all the lofty hills. He will break down every high tower and every fortified wall. He will destroy all the great trading ships and every magnificent vessel. Human pride will be humbled, and human arrogance will be brought down. Only the Lord will be exalted on that day of judgment. Idols will completely disappear.
The people of Judah followed the occult practices of the Assyrian empire. These practices were forbidden by God (see Leviticus 19:26; Deuteronomy 18:10, 14). The Philistines worshiped Dagon, Ashtoreth, and Baal-Zebub. During the more sinful periods of their history, the people of Israel and Judah worshiped these idols along with Yahweh, and even gave them Hebrew names.
The “day” of the Lord Almighty is the day of judgment, the time when God will judge evil and good. That day will come, and we will want a proper relationship with God when it does. God alone must be exalted (Isaiah 2:11, 17) as the first step toward developing that relationship with him.
Though very few people worship carved or molded images today, worshiping objects that symbolize power continues. We pay homage to cars, homes, sports stars, celebrities, money, etc. Idol worship is evil because it (1) insults God when we worship something he created rather than worshiping him; (2) keeps us from knowing and serving God when we put our confidence in anything other than him; (3) causes us to rely on our own efforts rather than on God. (See also Deuteronomy 27:15.) Take time to praise God for who he is—the only God.