At least they should've stopped and asked: "Shall I really bow down to a block of wood?"
This does not just concern idolatry. It's actually about "a deluded heart" misleading people into feeding on ashes so that they can't tell truth from lie. It's a powerful passage, and if you have the imagination, it's applicable to a lot of things in life, not just sin or idolatry--like the stupid rat race we're forced to run in.
It's absurd but you see it happening--no one stops to think, not even highly educated or so-called smart people (or especially them?)--to ask, is this really the right thing to do? Is this really what God wants? Or is this just religion?
As long as it looks successful, it must be right.
It's needful to often drop everything, stop, and pause for a while (or even spend a 3- or 4-day vacation on it) to think and consider--what am I doing, and for whom? Am I doing this just to please someone or is this really what's needed? Is this merely to please my ego or is this what God wants? It can't be both--it's either you just please yourself or you please God. Only one master can be served. And if you please one, the other is sure to be pissed off. There's no neutral ground or "best of both worlds."
Often, pleasing God means hurting your ego so much--unless it's no longer you who live but Christ--if Christ has been formed in the self. If God and ego seem both pleased---stop and think: it's probably just your imagination.
But in today's busyness, no one wants to "waste time" over scruples to stop and re-think things over. They just want to achieve something--anything. Moreover, as long as the going is good and smooth, they think it's probably correct. No need to stop and think.
But how do you know if you're on the right track? In my case, I always look for the Jesus LIFE and cross. It didn't look right when Jesus was nailed on the cross, beaten beyond recognition and looking like a loser. But God said it was correct. It's hard to understand but you have to search and mine it to get this mined power.