July 30, 2017

Idols or God?

My computer has an app for news. In that app, I can type in my interests and receive news items from all over the world on those particular interests. Sometimes blogs are included. Since I quilt, I’ve put that in my list of interests and am surprised how much news comes to me about this activity.

Another one on my list is ‘Christian persecution’ — that list is much longer and more surprising. Most of it is not covered in regular newspapers or television, but many Christians are harassed, even losing their lives because of their faith. Included in this trend is a tendency to mock even those who believe in God, whether they believe in Christ or not. This is not a surprise. Since history began, people have doubted the existence of God and turned to idols.

“Why should the nations say, ‘Where is their God?’ Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands.” (Psalm 115:2–4)

The Bible says that God initially makes Himself know by the wonder of creation. If nothing else, the human mind can reason that God must be greater than anything that is made, including the stars, sun and moon, and including all that can be seen yet eventually perishes. However, some people refuse that knowledge, refuse to be thankful, and slide into idolatry and deeper sin. (See Romans 1)

On the other hand, those who acknowledge there is a God begin to realize there is more to know about Him and that He is far greater than any idols human beings can come up with or create.

“For I know that the Lord is great, and that our Lord is above all gods. Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth, who makes lightnings for the rain and brings forth the wind from his storehouses. He it was who struck down the firstborn of Egypt, both of man and of beast; who in your midst, O Egypt, sent signs and wonders against Pharaoh and all his servants; who struck down many nations and killed mighty kings, Sihon, king of the Amorites, and Og, king of Bashan, and all the kingdoms of Canaan, and gave their land as a heritage, a heritage to his people Israel. Your name, O Lord, endures forever, your renown, O Lord, throughout all ages. For the Lord will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants. The idols of the nations are silver and gold, the work of human hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; they have eyes, but do not see; they have ears, but do not hear, nor is there any breath in their mouths. Those who make them become like them, so do all who trust in them.” (Psalm 135:5–18)

Most of the world I know has moved beyond idols made of silver and gold with mouths, eyes, and ears, yet idolatry abounds. Some have defined it as ‘whatever you think will solve all your problems.’ For many, it is money, or a ‘perfect’ leader or a change in the status quo.

For almost everyone, their idol is ‘me’ — ‘I can take care of myself.’ Even Christians can fall into this trap. We know of one dear lady who is in a senior’s facility, can no long get in her bed without help, but insists she can manage on her own. ‘I can take care of myself.’

One of the great delights of being a child of God is the opposite attitude, the one that knows ‘apart from Christ I can do nothing’ yet ‘through Christ I can do all things.’ Depending on Him gives me access to all that He is and all His resources.

My sister is at that stage where she knows she cannot care for herself, but instead of fighting it, she is joyfully embracing it. Each week, she calls to tell me the latest thing God has done for her. She laughs and giggles with delight at His thoughtful and usually surprising activities on her behalf. When I hang up the phone, I am usually laughing too. Our God may be in the heavens, but He is also right here with us, making a difference that no idol, money or ourselves included, could possibly do.

Jesus, what a delight You are. You think of our needs before we are even aware we are needy. You protect us from harm. You provide songs in the night and give joy that nothing can ruin or remove. We are so blessed to be Your children. Idols? None of the things we might turn to have the power to save and protect and care for us like You do. Thank You for being our Savior and friend, for meeting our needs and loving us. Thank You for forgiveness of sin and eternal life. No idol can give us peace with God and the certainty of living forever with You!

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