Scripture Text: Psalm 115:1-8 Title: Helpless Idols Helpless People

David Virts

Question of the Day: This world is full of idolatry, but what are the people like who worship those idols?

One of the remarkable things about life on planet earth is this: it has been observed that many couples that have been married for 50 or 60 years are said to think and act alike, and in some cases look alike. That is remarkable! Some of them even look alike! Not that they are both old and wrinkled, but they have so enjoyed each other’s presence, talked together, walked together, planned together, worked together, and so on that they actually begin to look alike.

In today’s passage the psalmist describes the contrast between the LORD and the useless idols of this world. Here is today’s passage: “O LORD, it is not unto us, now it is not unto us, but to Your name that we give glory, and why? Because of Your overwhelming and steadfast love and Your faithfulness! Then why do the nations keep on saying, ‘Where is there God?’ Our God is in the heavens and He does whatever He pleases. But the idols of the world are made of silver and gold and they are the handiwork of a man. They do have mouths, but they cannot speak; they have eyes, but they cannot see; they have ears, but they do not hear; they have noses, but they do not smell; they have hands but they cannot feel; and they don’t make any sounds at all. What is sad is that those who make them end up becoming just like them—and that goes for all who put their trust in them.”

In this psalm we are confronted with the stark contrast between the LORD, the God of the universe, and the gods of this world, and with a startling conclusion:

First here is what we learn about the LORD:

He is a God of steadfast love. We cannot comprehend how God can love the whole world and give His Son so that they can be saved, but that is the truth of the Word of God! His love is steadfast and overwhelming and unfailing and incomprehensible.

He is a God who is always there for us constantly, that is, He is faithful. We live in a world where we can trust nothing else or no one else; yet He reveals Himself to us as the One who is always there for us; He will never leave us or forsake us; and He admonishes us to learn to be faithful, consistent, and always there for each other—especially fellow believers.

Our God is also firmly enthroned in the heavens. This gets our perspective off ourselves and onto the One who is in heaven, who always existed, and has capabilities far beyond our comprehension.

Our God also does whatever He pleases:

First, He is able to do what He pleases.

Second, He cannot be stopped or hindered from doing whatever He pleases.

Third, He has absolute power and can do anything that He wants or needs or plans to do.

And fourth, He has a complete plan for every creature that He makes, and whether they like it or not, they will end up doing whatever He has designed and planned and purposed that they do!

And here is what we learn about the gods of this world: They are made of material things like silver and gold. They are always handmade. They have a mouth, but cannot speak; eyes, but cannot see; ears but they cannot hear; noses but they cannot smell; hands that cannot feel; feet that cannot walk; and a throat but they cannot make a sound!

When the contrast is completed, look carefully at the final conclusion of the psalmist: he said that what is sad is that those who make them end up becoming just like them—and that goes for all who put their trust in them. Here is the stark contrast: man was made in the image of God, and in that image he has creative ability. Throughout the rest of Scripture we are told to love as God has loved us; to be holy as He is holy; to learn to be faithful as He is faithful; to show mercy and forgiveness to others just as He has shown mercy and forgiveness to us; and so on. Now what is startling in this passage is that when the psalmist completed the description of the useless and helpless condition of the gods of the world, then he concludes by saying that those who make these gods and worship them become like them! We are challenged in Scripture as believers to become like God, but those who make and worship useless and helpless idols become like them. Let your imagination run wild on that thought!

Prayer: O God, You made us in Your image and then you tell us in Ephesians 5:1 to imitate You—that is, to become like You. That is the longing in the heart of every believer—to be and become like Jesus Christ our Lord, who is “the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature” (Hebrews 1:2-3 ESV). If we become like You and the world becomes like the gods of this world, no wonder they end up feeling Your wrath forever! O God, help us to become like You! Amen!

David B. Virts has written a book called “Knowing, Seeking Worshiping — a study of the character of God.” It is available by calling 615-945-0611.