May 4, 2015

Only one God worthy of praise

Judges 6:11–7:25; Philippians 2:1–11; Psalm 66:1–20

A meek man named Gideon heard the voice of God calling him to deliver Israel from the Midianites. Those enemies were like “locusts in number” overpowering God’s people to the point they driven to caves and dens. Finally they called out to the Lord for help and the angel of the Lord came to Gideon.

Gideon was not overly confident, but after a while he found courage to begin. First he tore down the idol altar that his father had put up to an idol, but he did it at night out of fear. When the deed was discovered and Gideon identified as the culprit, the men of the town said to Joash, Gideon’s father, “Bring out your son, that he may die, for he has broken down the altar of Baal and cut down the Asherah beside it.” But Joash said to all who stood against him, “Will you contend for Baal? Or will you save him? Whoever contends for him shall be put to death by morning. If he is a god, let him contend for himself, because his altar has been broken down.” (Judges 6:30–31)

What a remarkable response. Joash knew the idol was worthless. Otherwise he would have defended it. Instead, he told those who worshiped the idol that if it was any good, it should be able to take care of itself.

I think of those things I’ve put on a pedestal and how they eventually fell because I realized they were not worthy of being lifted up or honored. What would it look like if they tried to defend their pedestal position? I cannot imagine it, maybe because no idol can prove a worth that it does not have.

The NT reading is such a beautiful passage of Scripture that I could not select only a verse or two. I’ve put all of it below. Paul usually writes the glory of Christ first and then tells his readers how to respond. Here he does the opposite. I am to live in humility towards others because Christ lived and died and rose again in humility for me.

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:1–11)

These verses motivate praise. How suitable that the Psalm for today says this: “Shout for joy to God, all the earth; sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise! Say to God, ‘How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you. All the earth worships you and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name.’ Selah” (Psalm 66:1–4)

Today I’m shouting for joy because one day, all the earth will do the same, including those who still haven’t figured out that their idols are worthless.

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