READING: Psalms 13-15, Acts 19:21-41
“Paul has persuaded and turned away a considerable number of people, saying that gods made with hands are no gods at all.”
The temple of Diana stood in Ephesus, attracting worshipers and travelers from around the world. Artisans and silversmiths created statues of Diana and sold them for a living. Apparently all was going well until Paul showed up and started preaching about the one and only true God.
Demetrius, a silversmith and leader of Paul’s opponents, said of him, “Paul has persuaded and turned away a considerable number of people, saying that gods made with hands are no gods at all” (Acts 19:26). Paul’s message was on target, pointing out the folly of humans worshiping a god that they themselves created. Basic logic says that the one who creates is greater than that which he creates, but the deception of idolatry blinds people to even that simple truth.
What most bothered the silversmiths, though, was that Paul’s preaching was costing them money. People who repented of their false religion no longer needed their idols, and the overall influence of Diana was diminishing in the light of the gospel. Demetrius stated the situation: it was growing possible that “the great goddess Artemis [Diana] be regarded as worthless and that she whom all of Asia and the world worship will even be dethroned from her magnificence” (Acts 19:27). Likely not recognizing the irony of his own statement, Demetrius implied that their goddess was indeed “de-throne-able” – not a possibility for any real God. The people were hanging on to a false god for the sake of earning money that itself would not last.
Lest we judge them too harshly, I’m reminded that we, too, sometimes hold on to gods that don’t exist and hang on to “stuff” that doesn’t last, like popularity . . . position . . . power . . . possessions . . . prestige. None of it matters, yet we strive to get it and then fight to keep it – sometimes even when Jesus calls us to give it up to follow Him.
- Prayerfully identify any false gods in your life.
- Be willing to give up anything God demands to follow Him.
PRAYER: “God, show me my false gods. Particularly show me if I’m living for dollars more than living for You.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Psalms 16-17, Acts 20:1-16