Sunday, December 9, 2018

Where Is Their God?

Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?”
Our God is in the heavens; he does whatever he pleases.

Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. 
They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see. 
They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell. 
They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; they make no sound in their throats. 
Those who make them are like them; so are all who trust in them. 
O Israel, trust in the Lord! He is their help and their shield.
Ps. 115:2-9 

Because Israel was different, worshiping but One God—and That One invisible and without solid representation—I'm sure it was quite common for their neighbors to deride them as being godless. The Egyptians, Canaanites, Philistines, Assyrians, and Babylonians could all show off their gods. And some of them must've been quite exquisite—beautiful carvings, the purest precious metals, jewel upon jewel. But Israel? They had a tent and an ark with a few relics to help them remember who their God was. And, unlike those of the surrounding nations, their prayers didn't even pretend to try to manipulate their God.

But what right did the nations have to challenge them on their God's existence? Their God existed beyond the bounds of God's creation, and God could not be controlled by prayers and sacrifices. The existence of the God of Israel raised those who worshiped this God to a new dignity, for to worship this God was to acknowledge that we were created in the divine Image. In the same way, to trust in those imaginary gods was to make worshipers like the objects of their worship—mere caricatures of what God intended, easily manipulated and controlled.

I can't read this psalm as history only, for I know that when I place my trust in that which is not God—possessions, a relationship, human influence, a political agenda, my hero, or even superstition masquerading as religion—I am lowering myself to something God did not intend. I am a child of the Most High, created in God's image. Why would I want to become more like the image on a banknote or a statue in a church?

Forgive my waywardness, God. Give me grace every day to recommit myself to you and you only, that I may grow into the image in which I was created. In the Name of the One who bore that image perfectly, and who taught me to pray...