If there's one major undiagnosed malady afflicting American culture, I would submit that it’s the obsession with becoming famous. That would be bad enough, but the situation has deteriorated to the point that most of these fame-seekers don’t even care what they’re famous for. As of this writing, I recently heard on the news about a father who perpetrated a hoax that fooled the world into thinking that his son was stuck in a balloon above the earth and was in danger. He tried to fool the public in the hopes that he and his family would be candidates for a reality show. He went to extremes, but there are plenty of people who will stand outside in line for hours in order to be the next American Idol.
The Bible, from the very beginning draws us to a different perspective. I mean that literally: The first four words are “In the beginning God. . .” The center of attention of the Bible, from cover to cover, is the Almighty. People are important, but only because we derive our worth/value from our Creator. Like the moon, our glory is a reflected glory.
That precept is found in today’s Psalm, and it starts out with one of my favorite prayers in the entire Bible: “Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.” This should be tattooed on the brain of every person whose gifts put him on the forefront, such as in public speaking. It applies to all teachers, pastors, elders, and any other leader in the church. But it can apply generally in all of our lives, since everything that everyone does should be glorifying and honoring to our Savior.
The rest of the Psalm deals with idolatry, and there are a couple of interesting points which I’ve noticed. First, I find it intriguing that vs. 1 would be in a chapter warning against idolatry. But when you think about it, it makes sense. I mean, the idol of “Me” is the most common object of worship for most folks.
But there’s something else which the Psalm notes about idols. First, the author reminds his readers about the nature of these things. The stone statues have eyes, but they don’t see. They have ears, but they don’t hear. They have hands and feet, but are completely immobile. They can’t go anywhere by themselves.
So why would you want to worship something like this? Do you think that something that’s completely helpless can protect you or provide for you? But you might think, “I don’t bow down to worship an idol; this doesn’t apply to me.” Au contraire! Paul, not once but twice, tells us that greed is idolatry. Anything that you place your ultimate trust in—besides the Lord—is not worthy of that trust. In the end, it will fail you as surely as that statue.
There’s something else about idol worship that the Psalmist would like us to consider. Look at vs. 8: “Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.” My friend, you'll eventually become like the god that you worship. Why do you think there’s so little mercy in the Muslim world? That’s because—the Koran’s declarations to the contrary—Allah of the Koran is not compassionate or merciful. If you worship money—an inanimate object that is completely amoral—then that will show up in how you treat people.
As the Psalm concludes, it’s much better for us to trust in and worship the one true God. He alone is worthy of it. He alone is gracious, merciful, compassionate, holy, and able to protect and provide for us. And the principle of vs. 8 applies to us as well. As we worship him we'll become more like him in holiness and righteousness. Do you want that?
Father, I do want that. Please point out any idols that have taken up residence in your temple. I know that your heart’s grieved by any rivals, and I want to love you with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength. Please.
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