No new god nor an alien god

Psalm 81: 9-10  

Hear, O My people, and I will speak unto you, O Israel, and I will testify to you if you hear me, there shall be in you no new god, nor shall you worship an alien god, for I am the Lord your God who led you out of the land of Egypt.

“If you wish to hear Me, you will not worship another god. But if you forget Me, you will end up worshiping a new god, a god lately concocted. But if you hear me, I shall remain your God, your helper”. Although this appears to take a form of a threat, it is actually more of a complaint, as if God were saying, “if only you would listen to Me! You just do not understand Me. If you could hear what I am saying to you, you would not fashion new gods for yourselves”.

The new god stands in direct opposition to the God of Jacob. What is a new god? It is whatever the real God is not. The new gods are the idols fashioned by man.  They are in fact, projections of man himself, who has put himself in the place of God. Man’s gods and idols are his thoughts; his self-will is the god he worships, for he is a slave to his desires. One of the prophets says they have placed their thoughts in their hearts (Ezekiel 14:3), which means that in the place where they should have established God, they set up their vain thoughts. The Hebrew text is even more emphatic, for it says they have taken their idols into their hearts (Ezekiel 14:3. But whether we speak of idols, or thoughts, or passions, it amounts to the same thing: the gods of the heart. “If you listened to Me, you would not have filled your heart with idols”.

Men of worse passions even made gods of their emotions, or gave divine honors to anger, murder, lust and drunkenness, finding here an excuse for their own sins. Saint Athanasios of Alexandria said, even today, there exist pagan shrines and idols. One such shrine is desire, and the idol within it is the demon of lust, since the person who is a slave to pleasure has renounced Jesus and worships the idol of Venus that he has set up within himself, that is, the base pleasure of carnal desire. So too the person who is overcome by anger; he has denied Jesus in order to worship Mars, the god of war. But if you prevail over these passions, and throw down these idols, you will be a true martyr, having made the good confession in front of many witnesses (1 Tim 6:12)

Nor shall you worship an alien god. “These men have placed their thoughts in their heart: Shall I even answer them? (Ezekiel 14:3) How can I possibly respond to them? I cry out to them, but they do not understand Me; they do not see Me, they do not feel My presence. They have other gods. Perhaps I should remain in My dark cloud, keep silent, for how shall I even answer them?”

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