Serving Our Own gods – part 3
AKA – What we know about the God of the Bible & why it matters
In two recent blogs by the same title (part 1 and 2), we discussed the similiarites between our day and ancient days of pagan influence. We saw the parallels between those days of idolatrous practices and ours. We understood the spiritual mixture in those people and times of days gone by and the spiritual mixture today. And we realized that we too, find ourselves serving our own gods, just like men and women have for thousands of years.
But what’s the alternative?
If one were to adhere to the teachings of the Bible, both the Old and New Testaments, we would see the picture of One God, called The Lord, Yaweh, Jehovah. This God, was the God served by Old Testament persons, all the while they also served the gods of the nations surrounding them as well. But this God, called for their exclusive love. This God called for their whole heart. This God called for all of their passions, not just a swath of a bigger piece. This God called for a focus of their mind and not forgetful of their oaths.
The New Testament offers a similiar picture. One in which we see Jesus, called The Christ, who was called after His Father, The Great I Am, also calling for His followers to :
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind.”Matthew 22:27; Luke 10:27; Mark 12:30 ESV
The alternative offered by the God of the Bible is to offer your heart, mind, soul and strength to Him. Exclusively. Solely. Without reservation. And permanently. Sorta like one does in marriage. Because THAT is exactly how the God of the Bible sees humanity – whom He loves. He sees believers collectively as a beautiful bride for His only, begotten Son. Revelation 19:7
He loves the whole world and all humans in it. Each of them created by Him, in His image, for His pleasure. (Genesis 1:26; Revelation 4:11) A God of love (1 John 4:7-8) simply longing to share that love with His creation, His sons and daughters.
He is not a piece of hard, cold metal like that of idols. He is not a piece of man-hewn wood, like that of idols. He is not an imagination of man’s heart or mind. He is not subservient to or in alliance with any other god of the past, present or future. He is not a god who is afar off or uninterested in the affairs of men. Not the God of the Bible.
The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children to the third and fourth generation.”Exodus 34:6-7 ESV
This is Jehovah God.
His Son Jesus, who came to Earth on His behalf, to redeem humankind back to a loving relationship with Father-God, exemplified these qualities. With compassionate love, He sought to unite the people of His day with His Father – God, and then called all those after to “Go and do the same”.
The alternative to idol worship, self worship or sin worship – whatever you call it, is the worship of Almighty God. Who tangibly reveals Himself, comforts, strengthens, corrects, inspires, guides and enjoys His people.
This matters more than anything else in your world. Your relationship with the God of the Bible matters, for in it you find purpose, security, happiness, hope and value. The idols of self-pursuit and happiness, money, sex, or man’s approval have no such things to offer you. They leave you empty, seeking and hopeless.
“If we find God to be so boring or so neglible that we must put other things in his place that really satisfy us more than He does, then we offend Him and we destroy ourselves.” John Piper
And there is a huge problem with offending an Omnipotent God.
Put to death what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming.”Colossians 3:5-6 ESV
You see, the same merciful, slow to anger and loving God is also the God who’s wrath will judge our idols. He seeks our exclusive love and if we have idols keeping us from Him, His judgdment will fall one day, not just on them, but on us. That is why we forsake them, tear them down and pull them up by the roots in our life because they are what causes His wrath to fall. The consequence of keeping idols in our life matters to your children and your grandchildren. There are generational idols that must be torn down or they will take over and incur the wrath and judgment of Jehovah God.
This is the truth of the God of the Bible. And this is why it matters.
Therefore, may it be said of you and me –
You turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God and to wait for His Son from heaven…”1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 ESV
Because nothing else really matters if we don’t get this right.
- John Piper