1-27-2015           Useless “Religion”

“Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, ‘Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you’” (Acts 17:22-23 NKJV). “Religion” literally means “fearing some deity,” in this case, idols. Some people are “very religious” about the “gods” of: power, sex, money, sports, themselves, or things. “Worship without knowing” the God of Heaven and Earth and the Bible is vain. “If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless” (James 1:26 NKJV).

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#gods, #idols, #religion, #useless

Psalm 135 Which God Should We Worship?

There is no assigned author, time, or place for this Psalm, but it certainly brings together elements from a few other Psalms to show God is above all “gods!”

Verses 1-4 call for God’s People to praise Him;

Verses 5-18 mention why God is Supreme;

Verses 19-21 make a second call for God’s People to praise Him.

Verses 1-4: Look at what the LORD has done to distinguish His Name: (1 His “Servants” in “the house of the LORD” know He is “good” (Jesus said, “No one is good but One, that is, God,” Matthew 19:17); (2 “Praises to His Name” are to be sung, “for it is pleasant” (that is, it is a joyful response to His Name); (3 God chose “Jacob” (whose name was changed to) “Israel” (not Ishmael!) “for His special treasure,” through whom will come Jesus Christ (Luke 1:26-33).

Verses 5-18: The LORD is “great,” and “above all gods,” because: (Verses 5-7) He is All-Powerful (does as He pleases); Creator and Ruler of Earth (including heaven, earth, seas, deep places, water cycle, lightning in rain, wind from His “treasuries”). One God over all Creation, unlike idolaters who need many “gods” for one Creation! (Verses 8-12) He created and blessed the Israelite Nation by “signs and wonders” ending in the death of “the firstborn of Egypt” (man and beast! Exodus 9-12); defeated all the Canaanite nations for Israel to have the “Promised Land” (Book of Joshua); gave Canaan to Israelites as long as they obeyed Him (Deuteronomy 29). (Verses 13-18) NO idol has begun to accomplish as much for their people as God has for His! Idols are the product of human planning and carving, made in the image of a human (mouths, eyes, ears, none of which work because there is no breath of life!). God made humans in His own image (Genesis 1:26). Humans may become godly, but idolaters, those who trust idols, become cold, unfeeling, and blind, deaf, and dumb (or speechless).

Verses 19-21: Because God is Creator, All-Powerful, Ruler over human history, He deserves the praise and blessing from the “house of Israel,” “house of Aaron,” “house of Levi,” and all “who fear the Lord” should “bless the LORD.” The living God deserves, and should receive, all praise and blessing from those whom He has helped.

 All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#all-powerful, #bible-study, #bless-god, #book-of-psalms, #creator, #daily-bible-reading, #god, #idols, #obedience, #praise-god, #ruler, #worship

Psalm 115

Vs. 1-3 indicate the inquiry of Gentiles, and the answer;

Vs. 4-8 give contrasts between idols and God;

Vs. 9-15 list God’s interactions with His people;

Vs. 16-18 remind people why idealize God now.

This is another “Hallel” Psalm, for it gives reasons to end with “hallelujah” (“praise the LORD”). The date and authorship of this Psalm are indefinite, but the challenge to idolatry in this Psalm certainly would have been an answer to the Rabshakeh. He represented Sennacherib, King of Assyria, whose army surrounded Jerusalem in the days of King Hezekiah, and dared “the LORD” to deliver His people (2 Kings 18:27-36). The LORD prevailed (2 Kings 19:1-37), then, and always.

Verses 1-3: (verse 1) None of us are worthy of the “glory” belonging to the “LORD,” for only His “name,” “mercy,” and “truth” deserve such praise. (verse 2) “Gentiles” (non-Israelites) question God’s Being with: “Where is He?” When worldly people define every deity in worldly terms, they cannot know “God [who] is in heaven” and “does whatever He pleases” (verse 3). God’s sovereignty is not limited to: “temples made with hands” (Acts 17:24), “neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem” (John 4:21), and remains above Jesus and the kingdom (1 Corinthians 15:25-28).

Verses 4-8: (verse 4) An “idol” (term meaning thing seen, form, figure) must be made out of physical substance, often precious metal (“silver and gold”). Humanly-devised “gods” represent qualities humans appreciate, but, as “gods,” they have absolutely no power. (verses 5-7) Idols have: wordless mouths; sightless eyes; deaf ears; insensitive noses; unfeeling hands; unmoving feet; soundless throats. (verse 8) People shape their lives to be like their “god:” poor or no communication ability; can’t see opportunity and responsibility; don’t listen to God’s rules of righteousness; disregards the stench of sin and foul living; fumbling away good works; unresponsive action; laryngitis of praise for God.

Verses 9-15: By contrast, (verse 9) the “LORD” of Israel helps and protects them; (verse 10) Aaron, Moses’ brother (Exodus 4:14), was the first of the Levitical priesthood representing those closer to the LORD in worship; (verse 11) all “who fear the LORD,” also know the living God helps and protects. (verses 12-13) That “the LORD has been mindful of us,” historically is written throughout the past, for God has helped and is helping “both small and great.” (verses 14-15) This why prayerful desires are given to God (1 Peter 5:7; 3 John 2), for all blessing come from the God who created “heaven and earth.”

Verses 16-18: (verse 16) God has total dominion from “the heavens,” but has endowed mankind with “dominion” over life on earth. (verse 17) Since all must die (Hebrews 9:27) our time is limited, for we cannot convert or worship God like we once could have, beyond the grave (Ecclesiastes 9:1-6), therefore we must give God glory from now on (verse 18). “Praise the LORD!”

Thought: God-given abilities of hearing, sight, and intelligence are to be used to learn more about God (Psalm 94:8-11). All idols are created by humans to represent some “god” or power greater than the human: sex, fame, fortune, wealth, popularity, friends, drugs, entertainment, covetousness, etc. From the Law of Moses (Exodus 20:4-5) and into the Law of Christ (1 John 5:21), God has condemned idols of every kind. One who obeys Jesus Christ has “turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God” (1 Thessalonians 1:9).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #daily-bible-reading, #god, #idolaters, #idols, #obedience, #sin, #worship

Do we treat it all so lightly?

In Jeremiah chapters two and three, God tells Judah his complaint against them.

Foremost, of course, was Judah’s practice of idolatry, which extended even to having their children “pass through the fire,” (Ezekiel 16:21). Judah’s contemptuous idolatry, so disgusting in the sight of God brought about the captivity of both parts of the divided kingdom: Israel and Judah were taken into captivity.

In Jeremiah 3:9, in the New Living Translation, God tells Judah, “Israel treated it all so lightly—she thought nothing of committing adultery by worshiping idols made of wood and stone. So now the land has been polluted.” Judah was doing the same. The people’s attitude had become so hardened, Judah was described as having the forehead of a harlot (Jeremiah 3:3).

Is that the way our country is headed? So many people have abandoned the worship of God for their “favorite pastime.” Asking them to return to God is like spitting in the wind. Have we “treated it all so lightly?”

#idols, #pastime, #treated

Now I know…

In Judges 17:13, Micah (not the prophet) deluded himself in thinking that all was well when, in fact, it was not at all. Earlier in the chapter, the Holy Spirit tells us that each person had become, in essence, his own god. This not only does not bode well for the person, his family, but it also includes the community in which he lives. Micah thought he was doing that which was good. What he thought was good ending up costing him much. His idol god that he thought would protect was stolen – how ironic!

Sometimes we become deluded in thinking all is well when it is not. It is an easy thing for the mind to trap us into thinking such things. We think such things because we feel we know that our motivations are genuinely directed toward that which is good. The problem, however, is that which we define as good may not be good. In this context, there are two kinds of knowledge. First, the knowledge that originates with God, and second, the knowledge that originates with man. Micah chose the latter; which do you choose.

#good, #idols, #judges, #knowledge

Pagan-style Worship

Stephen, good outline on the golden calf. I’m making this a separate comment to avoid taking over your post. I unintentionally did that to Ed’s post on compromising/improvising. Also rather than put a longer than necessary comment here I will direct anyone interested to an editorial I wrote for BrotherhoodNews. It covers many of the same points. You can find it here: http://brotherhoodnews.com/2008/05/26/too-many-aarons/#more-303

I have great concern today regarding the typical indifference of Christians to modern day idol worship. To put money, power, self or anything besides God on the throne of our lives, we know is idolatry, but what about man-made objects. By that I mean attempting to access God through man-made objects. We are moving into dangerous territory when we fall before huge man-made crosses and multistory banners to pray to God.

What do you think?

#idols, #prayer, #worship