Idols on Earth, God in Heaven

The One Year Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), July 11

Idols are handmade, while man is God-made.

God cannot be seen with the naked eye, though metaphorically He has a mouth that speaks, ears that hear, hands that stretch out, and feet that rest upon the footstool of the earth. He is unbound by time and limitations. Idols, however, are made by human hands. The Psalmist describes the idols made by the human hand and worshiped by the human heart,
“Their idols are silver and gold,
the work of men’s hands.
They have mouths but they do not speak;
eyes they have, but they do not see;
they have ears, but they do not hear;
noses they have, but they do not smell;
they have hands but they do not handle;
feet they have, but they do not walk;
Nor do they mutter through their throat” (Psalm 115:4-7).

From the very beginning of the Bible’s narrative, God is relational. He speaks to Adam and instructs him in the garden. He sees Adam and Eve hiding. He hears them excuse their disobedience when He confronts them. He promises Adam redemption. He slays an animal to cover the couple’s nakedness. He walks with Enoch, then translates him to heaven. He sees that the wickedness of man is great and speaks to Noah regarding His plans. He smells the aroma of Noah’s sacrifice and is appeased. He speaks to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. The God of Israel is relational.

Those who live outside of God’s presence create a god or gods that resemble themselves, “Those who make them are like them; so is everyone who trusts in them” (115:8). Images with a mouth that cannot speak; eyes that cannot see; ears that cannot hear; noses that cannot smell; hands that cannot feel; and feet that cannot walk. Images that represent their own spiritual reality: blind, deaf, dumb, and powerless. Instead of turning to the true God whom they may know, they create mute idols–a reflection of their own inability to commune with the Most High God.

The Psalmist therefore urges Israel to trust in the LORD (115:9, 11). Because He is the Maker of heaven and earth, He will help His people, He will shield them (115:10, 11). A idol formed of clay or wood cannot help or protect man. Man needs God.

The God of the Bible is incomprehensible; no human could ever do Him justice, and no idol could ever capture His majesty, wisdom, and grace. Only as He reveals Himself through His Word and His Son can we know the Living God.

Questions from today’s chronological Bible reading (Ps. 115-118):
What contrasts in Psalm 115 does the psalmist make between God and idols?
What attitude of man precipitates the LORD’s gracious response in Psalm 116?
Psalm 118 begins by proclaiming the goodness and mercy of God. In what ways does the LORD reveal both?