READING: Isaiah 41-42, 1 Thessalonians 1
“They tell us how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.”
1 Thessalonians 1:9
I am again today amazed by the power of idolatry. Isaiah describes idolaters creating their own gods, and the words are both gripping and heartbreaking: “The metalworker encourages the goldsmith, and the one who smooths with the hammer spurs on the one who strikes the anvil. One says of the welding, ‘It is good.’ The other nails down the idol so it will not topple” (Isa. 41:7). The idol is not only manmade, but it is also so powerless that it cannot stand on its own – and still the people who make the gods with their own hands worship the very thing they made. In this case, the creator worships the created thing. The true Creator will have none of that, however, as He warns the people through Isaiah, “But to those who trust in idols, who say to images, ‘You are our gods,’ will be turned back in utter shame” (Isa. 42:17).
Still, the people of Thessalonica were centuries later worshiping idols, at least until they heard of Jesus. The apostle Paul heard of their faith, and we have the privilege of doing the same through his writing: “They tell us how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God” (1 Thess. 1:9). They had turned from their lifeless idols to the only God who is the “living and true” one. He is the God who made all, not the false gods made by others. He stands on His own above the clouds, yet He loves His own; He is the Redeemer, “the Holy One of Israel” (Isa. 41:14). He will judge idolaters, and He will prove powerless the idols they follow.
How foolish it is, then, when we follow our own idols. They aren’t typically statues we make with our hands, but they’re nevertheless “gods” we cling to more than we cling to the true God. Fame. Prestige. Sex. Power. Money. Position. Recognition. Sports. Careers. Relationships. The list could be longer, for it seems we will “worship” just about anything or anyone. What we must know is that (1) these gods cannot bring us joy, peace, forgiveness, and grace; and (2) the God of the Bible takes second place to no other gods. When we place Him in that position by our sinful choices, we’ve made choices that are both dumb and dangerous.
- Prayerfully determine whether you have idols in your life. If so, turn from them.
- Praise God that He is living and true.
PRAYER: “God, I praise You that you are living and true. I worship You and You alone.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Isaiah 43-44, 1 Thessalonians 2