Not to us, Lord, not to us
but to your name be the glory,
because of your love and faithfulness.
Why do the nations say,
“Where is their God?”
Our God is in heaven;
he does whatever pleases him.
Those who make [idols] will be like them,
and so will all who trust in them.
– Psalm 115:1-3, 8
We like to think that we are the ones that are in control, don’t we? We try desperately to control our lives so that it happens exactly the way that it should. We tell ourselves that we are the master of our own destiny.
But in order to do that, we entrust ourselves to the service of idols. The idol of money helps us afford all the things that we need. The idol of success gives us all the affirmation we need to feel worthwhile. The idol of relationships helps us feel secure and safe with our friends. If we want to be the master of our lives, we need these idols to help us.
Idols are both nothing and extremely dangerous. They are nothing because they are lifeless, breathless, helpless and dead. But as we see in Psalm 115:8 they are also extremely dangerous. We don’t master these idols but rather they master us. As we follow the idols of our hearts, we will become like them. We become lifeless. Breathless. Helpless. Dead. Rather than make our life better, they make it worse!
David Clarkson calls this soul idolatry:
‘… when the mind and heart is set upon anything more than God; when anything is more valued or when he is not our chief aim; when anything is more trusted, more loved, or worked harder for than God.’
But surely there is a better way. Where does God fit into this?
Verses 1-3 puts God back into his proper place as Lord over all, the only one who is in control. We see that most clearly at the cross, where he was pleased to show himself through the death of Jesus Christ.
Through the cross, God gives us everything that our idols try to give us. The cross gives us all the riches of his glorious grace and an imperishable inheritance in heaven with him. The cross shows us that we are valuable and worth dying for. The cross gives us safety when Paul says nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The idols we try to master will only make our lives worse as we become dead and lifeless like them. Making Jesus our master means we will not only be made more like him in this age, but made alive like him forever when he returns.
Read the rest of Psalm 115 and reflect on the comfort and security that God gives us in Jesus. Reflect on what it would mean to trust him and praise him in all parts of your life.
I praise you that you are the only one who is in control. You deserve all praise and glory that nothing or no-one else deserves. I’m sorry for trying to be the one on charge of my life. I pray that you will show me the idols of my heart and help me put Jesus there instead. Please help me to trust you in absolutely all areas of my life. Thank you that Jesus’ death for me has made all of this possible.