Tag Archive for idolatry

What Do You Worship?

“I am the Lord your God. . . . You shall have no other gods before me.”
(Exodus 20:2-3, NIV)

“The sorrows of those will increase who run after other gods.”
(Psalm 16:4, NIV)

We all seek security. We want our lives to have significance. We want to achieve. We crave a sense of meaning and fulfillment.

How are we seeking those things? On what are you focusing your hopes and energies? A house? A job? Comfort? The praise of other people?

What are you worshiping? Who are you serving?

We are children of the Creator. We have His life within us. He has patterned us after Himself. And He has planted in our hearts a yearning for something beyond what we can touch. He has given us a deep longing for the eternal.

He wants us to know Him. He wants us to share His life fully. He keeps prodding us to seek Him, to love Him and trust Him as our Father. Of all the guidance He has given us, He says that the most important thing in life is this: 

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. (Mark 12:30, NIV)

That is the key to happiness.

Yet we worship the temporary. We devote ourselves to what can’t possibly satisfy our deep desires. We fashion gods from created things. What was written 2,700 years ago still applies to us: 

They pour out their money. They hire a craftsman to make a god for them, then they bow down and worship it. They lift it up and carry it – it cannot carry them. They care for it – it does not care for them. They put it in its place, and there it stays – it cannot move. Though they cry out to it, it does not answer. It cannot save them from their troubles. 

Remember this, fix it in your minds: I am God, and there is no other. I am God, and there is none like me. (Isaiah 46:6-9, para.)

We are like selfish, rebellious children. Anxious to have complete “freedom,” impatient to fulfill our every desire, we turn our backs on the love that gave us life. We reject the wisdom that taught us and nurtured us. Instead we chase things that can’t possibly help us and can only drag us down. Our “gods” are a burden and a false hope. They don’t carry us. We carry them.

As a result, we are out of balance. Look around you. Our lawns are better manicured than our lives. We have nearly every material resource this world can offer. Yet we are unhappy and unfulfilled. We have no peace.

We are worshiping gods that are not gods. We are ignoring the one true God – our Creator, our Father.

Turn to the One who can truly help you. Seek Him. Talk to Him. It’s not at all difficult – He hears each word, each murmur of your heart. Discover your Creator. He is the security, the significance, the fulfillment that you crave.

My God, I want to know You. I want to obey You. I’m sorry for all my wrongness. Forgive me and fill my life as I believe in You now.

when I begin to realize who You are,
Your lavish gifts are not enough.
I want to know You and
please You and
worship You.
I want to love You and
walk with You and
trust You every moment.
I want to live
in You and
for You and
to You alone.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Come
Printed Music & Lyrics

What Will Matter Then?

A reflection on Revelation 18:9-24,
the laments over the fall of Babylon

It’s easy to become infected by the values of this world:

  • The signature of a famous person is worth thousands.
  • A vase is worth a year’s salary.
  • A single painting is worth $100,000,000 or more.
  • For the applause of people, many will gladly invest an entire life.

But when the world is on fire,
how much will they be worth?
When you are drawing your final breaths,
what will matter then?

Those who have disposed of
the belongings of a departed loved know that
the physical goods they leave behind,
belongings they may have treasured,
are now just stuff.
Getting rid of it is a chore, a burden.

The Bible mocks those who worship false gods:
False gods can’t carry us.
We have to carry them.

love, and
the God who will
carry you. 

Listen and sing:
Hymn: The Rich Young Ruler
Printed Music & Lyrics

Beyond All Images

from the devotional book, PICTURES OF GOD

Exodus 20:1-6; Deuteronomy 4:15-20

Understanding God’s transcendence sheds light on the second of the Ten Commandments:

You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on earth beneath or in the water under the earth. (Exodus 20:4, NASB)

This strong prohibition not only applies to images of false gods, but to images of the true God as well. Why would God absolutely forbid His people to make any likeness of Him?

  • Because God is transcendent, any image of Him would diminish Him. It would make Him far less and far other than He is, bringing more misunderstanding than understanding. He is Creator, not anything created. Worshiping any image, even an image intended to represent Him, is inherently worshiping a god other than the infinite, unseeable God. Such worship is inevitably idolatrous, regardless of its intent. The entire universe in all its vastness and wonder is only a tiny, partial revelation of all He is.

Death is naked before God…
he suspends the earth over nothing…
The pillars of the heaven quake,
aghast at his rebuke.
By his power he churned up the sea…
And these are but the outer fringe of his works;
how faint the whisper we hear of him!
Who then can understand the thunder of his power? (Job 26:6-14, NIV)

  • Any image of God is static, whereas God is a God of action. He reveals Himself through His actions, not through some static image.
  • Once we reduce the infinite, almighty God to anything local and material, our tendency is to try to control and manipulate Him. Think of the way the Ark of the Covenant has been pictured as having magical powers. That is the way any image of God would be used. Almighty God would become a mere tool to be wielded for selfish human ends.

God is great and marvelous beyond our full comprehension. And in Exodus 3:12, God says, “I AM with you”, using the exact word that He uses for His name in 3:14. Transcendent, Almighty God is with us always, in the full force of all He is.

Our understanding of the transcendent God deepens the mystery and wonder of Jesus Christ, a Galilean peasant, Who comes as the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15, NASB) and the exact representation of His nature (Hebrews 1:3, NASB).

Whom or What Are You Worshiping?

from the devotional book, PICTURES OF GOD

Jeremiah 10:1-16

God spoke through the prophet Jeremiah about 600 B.C. But if God were to raise him up and speak to our society today, what would he say?

“People, your gods are what you seek, what you trust and live for, what you look to for ultimate meaning. They are what define you. So look logically at who or what you are worshiping. Your gods are no gods at all!

“Material goods are too temporary and shallow to fulfill the dreams and desires your Creator has planted in you. They can’t change who you are inside, and you can’t take them with you when your body dies. Look at them, for heaven’s sake! They’re only wood and stone, metal and plastic!

“Money is simply a medium of human exchange, with no intrinsic value. It can only bring what human beings have to give, and no human being can give you what you truly need.

“Comforts and pleasures are fleeting sensations. Don’t spend so much effort trying to temporarily FEEL better. You can BE better from the inside out, and forever!

“No matter how you take care of your health and appearance, age, sickness, and death will overtake you. You are spending too much of your life trying to keep what you are sure to lose.

“All these things are promising you a meaningful and satisfying life. Whose promises do you believe? If you want life, go to the only Source of life, the One Who made you.”

The LORD is the true God;
He is the living God and the everlasting King…
It is He who made the earth by His power,
Who established the world by His wisdom;
And by His understanding He has stretched out the heavens…
The Maker of all is He. (Jeremiah 10:10, 12, 16, NASB)