TODAY’S READING: PSALMS 95-103
Psalm 97:7 says, “All worshipers of images are put to shame, who make their boast in worthless idols.”
In the above verse, the word images could also be translated idols while the words worthless idols could be translated pagan gods or “nothingnesses.”
Images and idols are representations of spiritual realities, powers, or forces. But, these spiritual realities, powers, or forces are created things. In other words, they do not have live in and of themselves. Therefore, scripture says that the images and idols that represent these spiritual realities, forces, or powers are dead. Idols cannot speak, hear, or move.
To worship is to serve. So, to serve images or idols that do not have life in them puts us to shame because we are serving that which is dead. When we serve that which is dead, we become dead too. So, when Paul writes in Ephesians that we were dead in our sins and trespasses, he says this because we have become like the images and idols that we are serving or worshiping.
Centuries and millennia ago, idols were made of stone, wood, and other materials. Today, we simply worship the spiritual power or force behind the idol – e.g. power, money, or sex – without the tangible idol. We think we are more sophisticated because we don’t have the tangible idol, but we are really all the more enslaved because our idol worship doesn’t have the tangible reality to prove its falseness.
So, instead of worshiping or serving images, we are to worship and serve the image – Jesus Christ. Colossians 1:15 says, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.”
Why do we worship the image – Jesus Christ?
Because unlike the images and idols we create that are dead, Jesus is the life of God and that life is in him. John 1:4 says, “In him was life.” In John 5:26, Jesus said the Father “has granted the Son also to have life in himself.” In John 11:25, Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life.” In Revelation 1:18, Jesus said, “I died, and behold I am alive forevermore.”
In order for us to have life, we must worship or serve life. Therefore, we must worship and serve Jesus to live. For, whatever we worship, we become. This is just what the Thessalonian church did. According to Paul, they were well known for having “turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.” (1 Thessalonians 1:9)