Psalm 96:4-6 - For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the LORD made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.
In today's culture, many people believe there is no absolute truth in spiritual matters. A belief that is true for one individual may not be true for others. Some people prefer to create their own personal religions or forms of spirituality, combining favorite practices selected from a variety of established world religions. Surveys have indicated that some Christian young people may even be reluctant to share the Good News about Jesus for fear of imposing their beliefs on others or perhaps insulting the religious practices of those to whom they witness.
The psalmist has no such concerns. He boldly declares, "All the gods of the peoples are worthless idols." The prophet Isaiah mocks a craftsman who cuts down a tree, using some of the wood to cook a meal and other parts of the same tree to carve an idol and pray to it: "Deliver me, for you are my god!" (Isaiah 44:17b) The apostle Paul, capturing the attention of his Athenian audience by pointing out how religious they are, does not hesitate to tell them that God is not "an image formed by the art and imagination of man." Paul openly describes such beliefs as a product of the "times of ignorance" that the true God will no longer overlook (see Acts 17:29-30).
Our God "made the heavens" and the earth. He is the Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—whose "splendor and majesty are before Him." He has revealed Himself in His Word and in the Person of His Son Jesus Christ: "Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son" (Hebrews 1:1-2). The LORD who made the heavens left His heavenly dwelling to live among us. In Eden He had decreed the penalty of death for human sin, and in Christ Jesus, He took that penalty onto Himself, suffering and dying on the cross. Jesus rose up in victory from the grave. In His death and resurrection, through faith in His Name, we have forgiveness and eternal life. No idol could do that!
As brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, we gather to worship the only true God, the Triune God, praising Him in the strength and beauty of His sanctuary. Then we leave that place of strength and beauty to carry the Good News of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection into the world. While we agree with the psalmist that "the gods of the peoples are worthless idols," we are counseled by the apostle Peter to be somewhat more tactful in our Christian witness: "In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect" (1 Peter 3:15).
THE PRAYER: Almighty God, You alone are the true God, the Creator of all things. Help us by Your Spirit to be faithful witnesses to Your love and saving work, through Jesus our Lord. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler.
1. What does the word "truth" mean to you?
2. Are there "gods" in our society? If so, can you name one or two?
3. For people who keep their "options open" when it comes to God, what might be some typical roadblocks to faith?
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