Monday, January 20, 2014

Idols and the writing on the wall


So far, this study called “No other gods” has verified that anything I put in the place of God cannot fill the empty places in my life. Only God can do that, and only God knows the best way to do that. I cannot devise a scheme or a god that will fulfill my needs and grant peace and satisfaction.

Today’s verses reiterate the uselessness of gods. While this passage speaks of crafted idols and images, its truths also fit the idols of today — money, things, people, prestige and so on . . .  

Thus shall you say to them: “The gods who did not make the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under the heavens.” It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens. When he utters his voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, and he makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain, and he brings forth the wind from his storehouses. Every man is stupid and without knowledge; every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols, for his images are false, and there is no breath in them. They are worthless, a work of delusion; at the time of their punishment they shall perish. (Jeremiah 10:11–15)

How stupidly we think that anything can replace God. Only God can speak and make rain and wind. Only God is alive and true. All images and idols are powerless, without life and false. They will not pass that final test of death and judgment.
Jeremiah repeats these same contrasts later, adding that God “established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens. When he utters his voice there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, and he makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain, and he brings forth the wind from his storehouses. Every man is stupid and without knowledge; every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols, for his images are false, and there is no breath in them. They are worthless, a work of delusion; at the time of their punishment they shall perish. Not like these is he who is the portion of Jacob, for he is the one who formed all things, and Israel is the tribe of his inheritance; the Lord of hosts is his name”. (Jeremiah 51:15–19)

Whether my idols are tangible things or shaped by my desires and imagination, there is no profit in them for they are worthless and powerless. Only God almighty can take care of me. Only God is eternal and holy and can bless me as I worship Him.

What profit is an idol when its maker has shaped it, a metal image, a teacher of lies? For its maker trusts in his own creation when he makes speechless idols! Woe to him who says to a wooden thing, Awake; to a silent stone, Arise! Can this teach? Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in it. But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him. (Habakkuk 2:18–20)

The Bible is filled with examples of those who trusted themselves and their idols. One example is King Belshazzar who feasted and “praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.” But God sent him a message on one festive occasion, and he called Daniel to interpret writing that appeared on the wall.

Belshazzar was greatly alarmed and rightly so. Daniel told him that his interpretation came from God, as did the message. It said that because this king ignored the lessons from his father’s life, and “praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know” but did not honor God “in whose hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways” then “God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end.” He had been “weighed in the balances and found wanting” and his “kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians”

Belshazzar honored Daniel and made him the third ruler in the kingdom, but “that very night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was killed. And Darius the Mede received the kingdom . . . .” (Daniel 5:31)

This man’s life was lost because he worshiped idols. My life with God is set aside whenever I substitute anything to take His place. Only God can fill the empty places in my life and give me peace and security. Nothing and no one else can take His place.


No comments: