The worship of idols was an important part of life for Israel’s neighbors. Skilled craftsmen created idols from the finest materials available. Priests would perform elaborate ceremonies to endow the idol with the presence of the god. The idol would then be treated as royalty. The object would be clothed and “fed” with the best, treated with awe and reverence.
Today’s reading is a rousing praise psalm to remind Israel that the Lord is greater than the gods of the nations. It was also a stern reminder to Israel that worshiping idols was foolish. These idols were “silver and gold, made by human hands” (v. 15). They had mouths, eyes and ears that did not work (vv. 16–18). These gods could never save or deliver like the Lord. The psalm reminds Israel that the Lord is the One who delivered them from Egypt and brought them into the land of Canaan (vv. 8–12).
Living in the twenty-first century, it is easy to think we are immune to the danger of worshiping idols. But an idol is anything in which we place our allegiance, trust, or hope instead of God. An idol could be our reliance on social media for affirmation or the hope we entrust to politicians. There are hundreds of ways we can fall into the trap of idol worship. An added danger is that we become similar to what we worship (v. 18).
The good news is that if we worship God, we will grow to become like Him. As Paul explained, “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory” (2 Cor. 3:18).
>> One of the benefits of praise is that it reminds us who God is, so that we do not fall into the trap of idol worship. Today listen to a praise song that reminds of God’s character. If you need a suggestion, start with the hymn “O Worship the King.”
“I know that the LORD is great, that our LORD is greater than all gods. The LORD does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and in all their depths” (Ps. 135:5–6).