Monthly Archives: September 2015

Singing with the King (56) – Like Them #2

Those who make them will become like them, everyone who trusts in them. (Psalm 115:8)

Last week we talked about the nature of their makers.

valley of bonesThe next phrase in the verse is one of scope: Everyone who trusts in them. I have said and written on numerous occasions, when there is a sweeping generalization, if it is God doing the sweeping, then it must be taken literally, for He alone can address or accomplish those generalizations. So when the Father says everyone, He means everyone. No wiggle room.

And this verse is a clincher. This death is not just reserved for those who make the idols, it’s for those who trust the idols.

When you examine the Hebrew word for trust, there are some disturbing translations, especially when you’re trusting in the wrong god. It is such a trust to cause you to be careless and complacent. When that becomes the way you move, there will be little or no opportunity to change. You will be stuck. You will be dead in your sins and trespasses, and you will die in an eternity without God. Be sure you trust in the right God, the One True God.

Now there’s some good news, and bad news regarding who you trust.

Carelessness and complacency will never be an option for those who trust the living God. That is not in His nature, nor is it His desire for those of us who are His followers, His worshipers, His servants. We are in a never ending spiral upward to become more like Christ, pressing on, pursuing, and as the author says, “Following hard after God, and playing for keeps.”

Carelessness and complacency, is very much part and parcel to the nature of idols. Consider this: you can’t get much more careless nor complacent if you’re dead. Life, options, opportunities, decisions, all move by you minute by minute, day by day, but you don’t even see them, because you have eyes cannot see.

To illustrate how badly you are without Christ consider this description the Paul leaves us in the book of Romans: There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one. Their throat is an open grave, with their tongues they keep deceiving, the poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; they’re swift to shed blood, destruction and misery are in their paths, and the path of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes. (Romans 3:10-18)

That’s a pretty bleak description, that is the nature of those who are without Christ. So whom will you serve? Whom will you worship?

Singing with the King (55) – Like Them #1

Those who make them will become like them, everyone who trusts in them. (Psalm 115:8)

golden imageLast week we talked about the nature of idols. This week we look at the nature of their makers. And this is a very scary verse:  Those who make them will become like them, everyone who trusts in them. In other words— dead. If you want to live, then you must believe in the living God. But if you don’t care about eternal life, then any idol serve its purpose, to lead you to death.

We must ask the question, who is doing the making? Is it the one true living God, or is  man getting it wrong again? The One Who lives, creates life. The one who is dead, can only manifest death. Actually, cannot manifest anything. The manifestations are left up to those who make them and worship them.

When being compared to idols we are way too similar. How do you feel about that? Go through that list of characteristics that describe them, and now apply them to you.

  • They cannot speak
  • They cannot see
  • They cannot hear
  • They cannot smell
  • They cannot feel
  • They cannot walk
  • They cannot make a sound with their throat

But you say, “That doesn’t apply to me! Why by my very objection, you can see that I can talk, and if I am of a more expressive variety, here I am waving my hands.” And physically, that is all very true. But spiritually, you are more like the idol then you understand.

Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. (Ephesians 2:1)

It is a sad thing that we have become both the deceived and the deceivers; that we would choose death over life, and encourage others to join us.

But that is our nature. Consider what it is that God gives to us, and that which an idol never can. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy, I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. (John 10:10) That’s what Jesus said, life abundant.

So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length, and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, then you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17-19)

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. (Galatians 2:20)

For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:8)

I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things (1 Tim 6:13)

He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of the regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:5-7)

This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life. (1 John 2:25)

It is obvious to see by all of the preceding verses, that life is a result of loving, serving, and being in the presence of the Lord of life. But making, worshiping, and serving  idols will only result in one thing— death. Because Those who make them will become like them. Next week we’ll discuss the scope of these actions.

Singing with the King (54) – The Work of Man’s Hands

Their idols are silver and gold, the work of man’s hands. They have mouths, but they cannot speak… They cannot make a sound with their throat. (Psalm 115:4,5)

In the context of this Psalm, we have a radical turn, which changes the focus from the eternal, unchanging, transcendent, and living LORD God, to that of idols. This perhaps is the greatest of contrasts one can make. Their idols are silver and gold, the work of man’s hands.

goldencalfWhen the Psalmist speaks of “Their”, he is speaking about the nations. And these nations had tangible, visible idols. These so-called gods were obviously important to them, because they were made of gold and silver; precious metals for precious gods. But as is often the case with mankind who has not been exposed to the principles and teachings of the Most High God, we get it wrong. Or in this case we get a completely backwards. Note that it says, The work of man’s hands. God is not the work of our hands; we are the work of His hands.

They have mouths, but they cannot speak. The Hebrew word for mouth not only refers to the physical mouth, but also the things that come out of the mouth including commands. The Hebrew word for speak is most translated as speak. But it also can be translated as promise or command; and yet this mouth can do none of those things—it cannot speak. No promises, no commands—nothing.

… they cannot make a sound with their throat. The Hebrew word for make a sound primarily means to meditate, ponder, and devise. It also means to make an utterance or a moan or growl.

So, these idols have mouths, but they cannot speak, command or promise. They have a throat, but they cannot make a sound, or meditate, ponder or devise. Why is that? Well, the answer is obvious. Idols do not have life. In fact we see the truth in that statement from the very first verse that enumerates the idols characteristics: The work of man’s hands.

Now the work of man’s hands can do many things: it can inspire, enrage, cause joy and sorrow, lift up and tear down, instruct and belittle. The work of man’s hands can do many things to enhance or detract from life, but it cannot give life. Nor is it something to worship.

Do the Nations miss the irony here? They devote all this time, taking up much of their lives and creativity for building something that is dead. Then don’t forget all the acts of worship; the pedagogy of that particular god; the accompanying temples, rules and observances; the personnel, such as priests and priestesses, prostitutes and whatnot; the maintenance team and the artists. And let’s not forget the spiritual enforcement team—a.k.a. the military. They have to encourage veneration, worship, giving, and sacrifice. The care and feeding of a false god, takes a lot of time, not to mention the construction, coercion, and deception. And it takes a lot of energy to maintain the lie.

BullIdols are pretty much no longer silver and gold, but they still are that which are either made by man’s hands or by his imagination. Idols are things which you pursue, instead of One True God. But, we are told: Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men. (Colossians 3:23) To do otherwise is a dangerous pursuit. More about that next week.

Singing with the King (53) – I Sought the LORD

I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. (Psalm 34:4)

Once again, praise precedes petition:

I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul will make its boast in the LORD; the humble will hear it and rejoice. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together. (vss. 1-3)

In fact, David encourages those with him to bless the Lord first.

Grief1Now comes the personal request: I sought the LORD and he answered me, He delivered me from all my fears.

The Hebrew word for sought is defined as to seek with care, inquire, consult; and there is an aspect of worship within this word. When we bring our petitions to Him, is it part of worship, or is it playing back a list?

Some of the definitions for answered in Hebrew are to answer, respond, testify, speak and shout. How much does God want to answer your prayers? Is He joyous, would He shout the answer? Should we not shout when He answers our prayers?

There is urgency in He delivered meto snatch away, to tear away, to plunder, to pluck; also to rescue and save. He knows our need, and that it is desperate.

He delivered me from all my fear, terror, and dread (translations of the Hebrew word for fear). What is it that causes you fear or terror? Can you take it to the LORD? We have seen that He will hear—and answer. Don’t let your fear keep you silent.

When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. (Psalm 32:3-4)

But when I was silent and still, not even saying anything good, my anguish increased. My heart grew hot within me, and as I meditated, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue: “Show me, O LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath. (Psalm 39:2-5)

But if I say, “I will not remember Him or speak anymore in His name,” then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire shut up in my bones; and I am weary of holding it in, and I cannot endure it. (Jeremiah 20:9)

Don’t let your sins get in the way seeking the LORD. Or in the way of your deliverance:

Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the LORD.”  And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.


Therefore, let all the godly pray to you while there is still time, that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment. (Psalm 32:5-6)