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Idols in the Bible always refer to more than simple statues; they are the false deities created by humankind to replace the worship of the one true God who fashioned the universe and made men and women in his image. The basic condition of the human heart is prone to sin and idolatry. The apostle Paul explains, “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things” (Rom. 1:21-22 ESV).
This Olive Tree resource is an informal catalogue of some of the gods and goddesses continually worshiped by the nations near Canaan. The Israelites were tempted to worship these common idols in place of the Lord, the God who judged the “gods” of Egypt, who redeemed his people out of slavery, rescued them through the Red Sea, and restored them to the promised land.