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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Truth Versus Tradition

I was just reading in Acts 19:24-41 where Demetrius the silversmith started ranting against the Apostle Paul. The Bible tells us that Demetrius and quite a few more craftsmen made big money making silver shrines for Diana. These images provided a lucrative business for the city of Ephesus, where they believed the image of Diana fell down from Jupiter (See verse 35). Ephesus had a temple to the goddess, and apparently she enjoyed a large following.

Demetrius had a problem, though. It was Truth. Paul had persuaded and turned away much people saying they be no gods, which are made with hands. (Verse 26)

I’m reminded of a couple of Bible passages about people making their own gods. One is Isaiah 44:16-18a: He burneth part thereof in the fire; with part thereof he eateth flesh; he roasteth roast, and is satisfied: yea, he warmeth himself, and saith, Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire: And the residue thereof he maketh a god, even his graven image: he falleth down unto it, and worshippeth it, and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me; for thou art my god. They have not known nor understood.

Even a little child can understand this: Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them. (Psalm 115:4-8)

This wasn't only in Bible times. Today, many religious practices worship or give some kind of homage to man-made images. They might be called gods, goddesses, saints, virgins, or icons, but they are objects of worship. Offerings of flowers and food are given to them. Candles and incense are burned before them. Dances are performed to honor them. Concerts are organized on their special days. People kiss them and pray to them. Some images are even sprinkled or submerged in various “holy” waters.

The first and second of The Ten Commandments read like this: Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God. (Exodus 20:3-5a)

The Truth hasn’t changed since Paul’s day. The Truth is that there is a God. He was not made by man; He made man. He is the Creator of the universe. He is Truth. God desires a relationship with man, His creation. He sent His Son, Jesus, to become man and to redeem man. God is the only One worthy of our adoration and worship.

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. (from Revelation 4:12)

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