Tourists and travelers buy souvenirs from the places they visit. Souvenirs connect us to a place and an experience that become hooks for our memories. They prove that we’ve been to a specific place. Souvenirs can be just about anything: My wife likes seashells. I like collecting baseball caps. Some buy jewelry while others may collect postcards.
In the Old Testament there is a story of souvenir collecting. The Philistines grab a priceless Israelite treasure – The Ark of the Covenant. 1 Samuel 6:19 . About the same time, the nation of Israel began collecting Canaanite items. In both cases their “souvenirs” brought calamity to the owners.
When Israel began conquering Canaan, they were supposed to destroy all the idols they found. Instead, many people collected the idols, brought them home and eventually worshipped them. Exodus 20:4 Today’s idols don’t look like the ancient gods of wood or stone but they endanger us just as much. Whatever holds first place in a person’s life is in fact their idol. Money, success, pride or anything else can be an idol if it takes God’s place. If we have “foreign gods,” we need to dethrone them, giving the true God His rightful place.