Read: Psalm 135:1-21
Consider: Our reading from Psalm 135 begins and ends with the words ‘Praise the LORD’. This is a reminder that ultimately life begins and ends with God.
Later in the psalm it says: The idols of the nations are silver and gold, made by human hands. They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see. They have ears, but cannot hear, nor is there breath in their mouths. Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them (Psalms 135:15-18). The psalmist is of course referring to physical idols that characterised the religions of the nations of the world. Not only did people worship idols in the temples of their gods, but they may also have had household gods/deities that were prayed to for protection for the household and its members. In Old Testament times idols were seen by many to be part of everyday life. However, for the Israelites their worship and praise was to be directed to the living God, who could not be represented by an idol.
Reading of idols made me think about what twenty-first century people make idols of today. There are still religions that represent their deities in the form of idols, statues that can be worshipped. It is clear from the Bible that idolatry of this form is wrong. But what of the many other things that can be turned into idols by our society? The obvious thing that becomes an idol in people’s lives today is mentioned in the psalm – ‘silver and gold’. Things like wealth, success, position and the cult of celebrity can all take precedence in a person’s life to the extent that God is squeezed out. Additionally, even things that may seem innocent on the face of it (e.g. leisure and sport activities) can become so all-consuming that a person has no time for God.
I like how the psalmist characterises the idols of silver and gold – they cannot speak, see or hear, nor do they have breath (they are not living). Then he says of those who make them, or trust in them that they ‘… will be like them …’ (135:18). We see this in people who replace God with their own idols. They become blind and deaf to the things of God.
As we came into this world with nothing, so we will leave it (1 Timothy 6:7). We can all acknowledge the wisdom in these words, yet there are many people who will spend their whole life seeking to amass wealth well beyond what they can spend in their lifetime. As Christians, we too need to be careful to keep our focus on God and not on things that can ultimately deaden our eyes and ears to the spiritual things God wants us to focus on.
Pray: Father, keep us from turning worldly things into idols in our lives. May we seek to praise you in all that we do. Amen