Psalm 96:5-8 - 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. Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength! Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His Name; bring an offering, and come into His courts!
The prophet Elijah staged a competition between the idol Baal and the God of Israel (see 1 Kings 18:20-40). Unsurprisingly, Baal did nothing. God won. No contest. We confess and worship the same God, the Creator of all things. Idols are created by human hearts and hands. The prophet Isaiah mocks the idol-maker who cuts down a tree to carve an idol and then burns the rest of the same tree to warm his home and cook his dinner (see Isaiah 44:9-17). The worship of what Scripture refers to as these "so-called gods" (1 Corinthians 8:5a) has been going on for a very long time. It began in Eden, where Adam and Eve, our first parents, listened to the devil's temptation and chose to follow their own desires, to worship self instead of their Creator. They "exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator" (Romans 1:25a).
As the saying goes, the apple does not fall far from the tree. We are guilty of the same self-serving idolatry. We may not fashion idols of wood or gold or silver, but we still find no end of things to worship—money, power, politics, pleasure—whatever temporarily satisfies our selfish needs and desires. God will have none of this. He makes that clear in His First Commandment: "You shall have no others gods before Me" (Exodus 20:3). He says, "I am the LORD; that is My Name; My glory I give to no other, nor My praise to carved idols" (Isaiah 42:8).
As we see in the contest with Baal, our God is a God who acts, who steps into human history to save. He loves the world and the people He created and His steadfast love is expressed in self-sacrifice. Out of His love for people who refused to worship Him, who chose idols, the God to whom all glory is due laid aside His glory to take on human flesh in the Person of His Son. God the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, sacrificed Himself to atone for the sins of the world, for the sins of every idol-maker, for our sins of self-centered idolatry. Jesus rose from the death in triumph over every idol. Again, no contest! In thanks and praise, with sins forgiven, we bow down to worship the only true God. We ascribe—attribute—to Him alone "the glory due His Name." In the words of the ancient Israelites who witnessed that one-sided contest with Baal, we call out in praise, "The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!"
WE PRAY: Lord God, to You alone belong all glory, honor, and praise! Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler.
1. What do you do to keep your heart and mind set on God?
2. Why is turning our focus from the things around us (creation) and concentrating on God (the Creator) so important—and so hard—for us to do?
3. Sometimes telling yourself, "Stop!" and pausing a minute or two will give you the breathing space you need to not do the thing you shouldn't. Try it sometime. See if it works.
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