Idolatry is an ugly sin. It can cause one to do things that are quite ugly, things that they would otherwise never even consider doing in order to achieve their goals.
In Madagascar 3, the animals are determined to get home, so much so that it causes them to do things that they otherwise might not do: the penguins cheat at a casino game in an effort to raise money to get a flight to New York and Alex the Lion lies to some circus animals about the gangs origins and vocations in order to stow away on a circus train.
The problem with sin is that sometimes it works, and you actually get what you want. Alex and the other animals get to New York in no small part thanks to his lie, but upon arriving discover that what they thought they wanted: their old home in the Central Park Zoo; is not quite as they remembered it. The rock on which Alex stood seems smaller; Marty’s mural pales in comparison to the real thing in Africa; and Melmin and Gloria realize a wall separating their areas that they had not experienced since they left.
Their idol, of home and the zoo, did not measure up to what they had experienced in their journey to Madagascar and later the African safari. When they lived in the zoo, these things did not seem to bother them because they knew nothing else, but now that they had experienced ‘the wild’, it just was not the same anymore.
There is a direct comparison here to the life of the Christian. When we live apart from God, when we live under the Law, when we chase after idols, everything seems to be fine and the fact that something is missing or that things could be better, is absurd.
But when we experience the true and living God, when we are freed to live under the Gospel and cast off the chains of the Law, well then that old prison house of sin will no longer do.
Oh sure, the devil will try to trick us, he will lie to us, he will tell us that things are so much better if we chase after those dead idols, but that is hardly the truth. It is important to note, that whereas in the original Madagascar, the animals lived in habitats surrounded by short walls, their designated areas are now that short wall, plus a high chain link fence to keep them in.
The devil knows that you will not return easily and that once you see that the idols are dead and useless, you will try to escape. Barriers are not meant to keep others out, they are meant to keep you in.
The animals discover that life in the Gospel, life in freedom is the life they want; not the life offered by dead gods. It is a lesson that the Christian knows all to well.