Psalm 135:15-17 - The idols of the nations are silver and gold, made by human hands. They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see. They have ears, but cannot hear, nor is there breath in their mouths.
Known as the "land of smiles," visitors to Thailand are immediately impressed by how polite and gracious the Thai people are. Although Thai people don't forge deep friendships quickly, once a relationship has been developed, it will never be broken.
Because almost 94 percent of the people in Thailand are Buddhists, the influence of the Buddhist religion can be seen in virtually all aspects of Thai culture. The beliefs and values of Buddhism are tightly interwoven throughout Thai society.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the myriad temples and shrines that can be found in every community across the country. Buddha statues, idols, and images of other mythical beings are a common part of the décor. Whether made of wood or concrete or carved from stone, many Buddha figures are covered with gold.
It's not unusual to see Thai people kneeling before an image of Buddha or the idols that hold a prominent place in their homes. After placing gifts of food, a glass of water, or flowers on the altar, the Buddhist worshippers often light several incense sticks. With sincerity etched on their faces, they bow and repeat chants and prayers in the hope the smoke rising from the incense will somehow carry their requests to Buddha or their ancestors. At some shrines small pieces of gold leaf can be purchased and then attached to the Buddha figure as a special offering.
As a Christian, I experience conflicting emotions when I observe Buddhist people praying to idols and images made by human hands. I feel sadness to see such kind people speaking to figures that have ears, but can't hear, seeking assistance from images that have hands, but can't move. I feel compassion for them, because I know they are doing the only things they know to do.
At the same time, I feel joy and deep gratitude I have a God who is alive, who is powerful to help, and who loves me. When I pray, God hears and answers. When I'm in need, He acts on my behalf. With His strong right arm, He guides and protects me. There is no other god like Him.
There are people throughout the world, like Thailand's millions of Buddhists, who need to hear of God's love as given in His Son Jesus. Our God is a God who loves, who listens, and who saves. We thank Him for the gift of life everlasting through Jesus' death on the cross for our sins. And we thank Him for the victory that is ours through His resurrection from the dead.
THE PRAYER: Gracious God, send Your people filled with Your Holy Spirit to work in the hearts of people everywhere. In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dennis Denow, a longtime LCMS missionary to the Asia Pacific region.
1. How do people come to believe that images made of wood or stone have special powers?
2. Why did the children of Israel have such a hard time resisting the worship of golden idols?
3. What kinds of things do people place unwarranted faith or trust in today?
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