“Is God Dead?”
These 3 words on the April 8th issue of Time Magazine stirred the emotions of a nation in 1966.
I remember it. I was a senior at Cascade High School in Clayton, Indiana. Not that I remember seeing the magazine, because my Dad subscribed to Truth Magazine, not Time Magazine.
However, I recall the preachers addressing the issue. Preaching on evidences for the existence of God and refuting Times’ thesis. Lecture programs, bulletin articles, and special editions of religious papers provided ample material to support and embolden faith in God.
In the same year, A. W. Discus, a scientist in the field of physics, would respond with a hymn he wrote entitled: “Our God: He is Alive.” Still popular in our churches today, the song proclaims with vigor that God is Alive. Though unseen, we see through the eye of faith God’s creative genius, His redemptive plan through Jesus, and His eternal purpose for us to live with Him forever.
Psalm 115, likewise proclaims this Truth in the midst of pagan nations who worshiped idols, the product of human hands.
Like unbelievers today, the heathens scoffed at Israel saying, “Where is their God?” In response the Psalmist reminds them that God rules and reigns in heaven. But their gods of wood, silver and stone, possess no life-like qualities.
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.
In Warren Wiersbe’s book, “Meet Yourself in the Psalms,” he contrasts the Creator with their made-man idols, using six “P” words.
#1 Promises. Since idols can’t speak, they can’t promise anything. They’re silent. But God speaks. He spoke to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He spoke through Moses. And the prophets. Today, He speaks to us through Jesus Christ and the recorded Word of His apostles (Heb. 1:1-3).
#2 Protection. Since they’re sightless, idols can’t watch over anyone. Since they can’t see, they can’t protect you. But “the eyes of Lord are on the righteous” (Ps. 34:15).
#3 Prayer. Idols have ears, but can’t hear. They can’t hear your cry. Your supplication. Your prayers. But God’s ears are open and He hears the plea of His people (1 Pet. 3:12; 5:7).
#4 Praise. The Bible often speaks of our sacrifice and praise as a “sweet smelling aroma” to God (Lev. 6:21; Eph. 5:3). Lifeless idols, however, can’t smell. They receive no praise.
#5 Power. As Wilson Adams wrote, “Idols may have carved hands, but they never move or lift a finger.” However, “the mighty hand of God” is depicted as powerful. Glorious. And strengthening (Ex. 15:6; Isa. 41:10; I Pet. 5:6-7).
#6 Presence. People are limited to time and space. And so are the idols fashioned by men. But Jehovah God is omnipresent. He meets us where we are. He is always there (Ps. 139:7-10).
Because of who God is, we can rely on Him. He is dependable. Trustworthy. Faithful. And true.
The Psalmist then reminds us how God blesses “both the small and the great.” He is a gracious Giver (Jas. 1:18). He gives good gifts. To all of mankind, and especially His people. Indeed, you can “count your many blessings, name them one by one.”
In the end, the Psalmist calls on us to “praise the Lord.” He is worthy of our adulation, worship, and reverence.
As a final thought, this Psalm should remind us of the futility and foolishness of modern day idolatry. Some worship money and material possessions. Others power and position. Others pleasure and passion. Others popularity and praise. Can these idols supply your spiritual needs? Your soul’s longing? Your life’s true purpose? Your eternal destiny?
To paraphrase Charles Spurgeon, “Nothing teaches us about the greatness of God as much as when we learn the emptiness of everything else.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman
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