Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Putting false idols before God

Good morning. Today’s scripture comes from Psalm 115:3-9 (NIV):

“Our God is in heaven;
he does whatever pleases him.
But their idols are silver and gold,
made by the hands of men.
They have mouths, but cannot speak,
eyes, but they cannot see;
they have ears, but cannot hear,
noses, but they cannot smell;
they have hands, but cannot feel,
feet, but they cannot walk;
nor can they utter a sound with their throats.
Those who make them will be like them,
and so will all who trust in them.
O house of Israel , trust in the Lord –
he is their help and shield.”

In the 2000 movie “Gladiator,” Russell Crowe’s character Maximus carries around with him little statuettes in a leather pouch as a reminder of his gods. At the time, the Roman Empire was winding down to its last 200 years (the movie setting is about 180 AD, when Marcus Aurelius dies.). The Psalms were written several hundred years before, but the character of people were similar. People—even the Israelites—worshipped idols of wood, stone, or metal. When Maximus lost his idols, he, too, was lost.

In Psalm 115, the idols were made of silver and gold. Sort of like today with money and “things.” Today, people may not carry around little statuettes in their pockets as their reminders, but they worship “things” and not the true God in heaven. The psalmist wanted the Israelites to realize that anything made of man’s hands were not worthy of worship. Instead, we should trust the Lord, because he is our “help and shield,” or protector.

So what are our idols? What is it we place before the God in heaven? What is keeping us from putting God first in our lives. The psalmist is telling us that those things made of wood, stone, or metal can’t speak to us, hear us, feel what we’re going through, or walk with us. And God is in heaven, doing as “he pleases.” What pleases him is hearing from us. Our God has ears to hear, and his commands to us are written down in his word, the Bible. When we open it up and read about his love and grace, it pleases him. We gain wisdom whenever we connect with God.

The false idols we put before God will never fill the emptiness we feel in our guts. That emptiness can only be filled by God’s truth and mercy. We want money to fulfill us, but it fails. We want that big house to meet our needs, but it doesn’t. We want that prestigious position at work to fill us up, but it leaves us empty. We want the love of another person to make us happy, but human love is never enough. We are here on earth to seek God and please him. When we obey his commands, God sends us blessings we cannot fathom. Our reverence for the Lord is what meets all our needs and fills us up, be they physical, emotional or spiritual. Earthly idols cannot compare.

How does this apply to my life?

Today’s prayer: Lord, help me to put aside all my earthly idols and put you first. Help me to seek out the blessings you have set aside for me. Amen

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