There appears to be some contention here as what Idolatry means so let's see if we can better understand what God meant when he gave the ten Commandments to Moses.
From the King James translation:
Exodus 20:2 through 5 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
From the Orthodox Jewish Bible:
Exodus 20:1 through 6 Then Elohim spoke all these words, saying, I am Hashem Eloheicha, Who brought thee out of Eretz Mitzrayim, out of the bais avadim. Thou shalt have no elohim acherim in My presence. Thou shalt not make unto thee any pesel, or any temunah of any thing that is in Shomayim above, or that is in ha'aretz beneath, or that is in the mayim under ha'aretz. Thou shalt not tishtacheveh to them, nor serve them; for I Hashem Eloheicha am an El kanna, visiting the avon Avot upon the banim unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me; But showing chesed unto thousands of them that love Me, and are shomer over My mitzvot.
From Smiths literal translation:
Exodus 20:3 through 6 There shall be no other God to thee to my face. Thou shalt not make to thee a carved image, and every appearance that is in the heavens above, and that is in the earth beneath, and that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not worship to them, and thou shalt not serve them: for I am Jehovah thy God, a jealous God, striking the iniquity of the fathers upon the sons to the third and to the fourth, to them hating me; And doing kindness to thousands to them loving me and to them watching my commands.
unless otherwise stated Scripture quoted is from the King James Translation:
There are two commands here, one has to do with false gods, of which we whether rightly or wrongly; assert to be the god's of other nations.
Genesis 35:1 through 4 And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother. Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went. And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem.
The supremacy of God to the gods of other nations was not new to the Hebrews. God had given them ample proof of his majesty in telling them:
Exodus 12:12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.
It is imperative that we understand that the Hebrews had been in slavery in Egypt for 400 years at this time, and had long ago abandoned the one true God for the worship of Egypt's gods. God was therefore having to reinstitute their true religion, and he was doing this through the teaching of Moses. However, they like all people, without strong leadership tend to revert to their old and comfortable way of life.
Exodus 32:1 And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.
Then God knowing that Satan had once again interfered to turn their hearts from God said to Moses;
Exodus 32:7 through 10 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.
That gives some insight into God, let's look at what God actually said.
for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt. God is so incensed
at their rejection of him that he no longer refers to them as his people, but is now
not only calling them Moses people, and is even willing that Moses be given all the
credit for is magnificent feat.
God then offers Moses;
I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: Now therefore let me
alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will
make of thee a great nation. God was so inflamed at the Hebrews, that he is willing
to alter all of his plans to complete his master plan and annihilate the Hebrew Nation
and start all over with the descendants of Moses.
they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it. This is actually the second
command God gives in worshiping other gods, that they are not to substitute any
manmade image in the worship of God as a portrayal of him.
We become more aware of
that when we consider the phrases in Smith's literal translation;
' There shall be no other God to thee to my face.'
and in the Orthodox Jewish Bible;
' Thou shalt have no elohim acherim in My presence.'
From these and many other Scriptures that I have studied, It is my opinion whether right or wrong that the idolatry which vexes the Lord is our dedication to anything which we will allow to pre-empt our true and heartfelt worship of him.
Jesus himself probably said it best:
John 4:23 and 24 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
This illustration may explain my point better than anything I can say.
I live in East Texas, and in this area the Dallas Cowboys football team is the subject of a fanatical following. During the season there are Cowboy signs, shirts and etc. everywhere, and during their games almost everything comes to a halt as people watch the games. I have known some, who struck me as devout Christians, who missed Church on Sunday to watch the games. I have even known people who placed a tiny earphone in their ear connected to a hidden radio, in order to keep up with the game during the sermon. I make sure to sit as far away as possible from them just in case.
That illustrates my point about anything that draws our worship away from God and also the concept of it being in the face of God. I have often wondered why God does not vaporize some people for the boldness with which they taunt him, after all he killed a man for just touching the Ark of the covenant to keep it from falling.