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There is an old yarn that says you are what you eat. If so that makes me a Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia medium pizza with pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms and extra mozzarella. NOT, a pretty picture.
But Scripture has a different view on that idea. Out of our 4 readings today Ezekiel 36:22-40:4; John 7:37-52 and Revelation 1:1-8 – it is Psalm 135 that recasts that old saying about what you eat – in the mold of: “You become, what you worship.”
I’m Reid Ferguson. And this is Through the Word in 2020.
Psalm 135 is deceptively simple. vss. 1-2 are a call to praise the Lord. 3 times. The repetition makes it emphatic. vss. 3-14 lay out a whole series reason why that praise is fitting. Starting with how good God is in His nature. It goes on to talk about His sovereign power, His involvement in nature, and especially the deliverance of Israel from Egypt; a wonderful foreshadowing of Christ’s delivering us from the bondage of sin and death.
It is in vs. 15 then that the Psalmist, in describing the 4 traits absent from false gods highlights what makes the true God so worthy of praise.
False gods have mouths, but do not speak. God has spoken and continues to speak to us through His Word. And as Hebrews 1 reminds us: long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days, He has spoken to us by His Son. It is why Jesus is called “The Word of God.” Our God speaks.
Second, false gods have eyes, but do not see. But our God sees! Prov. 15:3 says that the eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good. And 1 Peter 3:12 says that especially, His eyes are upon the righteous. He never loses sight of His own. We are always before Him.
Third, false gods do not hear. But our God does. From Genesis 4 on men began to call upon the name of the Lord, and Scripture bears the numerous testimonies like that of David in Psalm 17:6: “In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From His temple He heard my voice, and my cry reached His ears.” And Acts 2:21: “everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Christians have a hearing God. Not a deaf idol.
Fourth, false gods aren’t alive. There is no breath in them. But we serve the true and the living God. And the One who gives life to all.
Which makes vs. 18 all the more potent: Those who make idols and false gods, become like them. What do we become like when we do not serve the Lord, but gods of our own making?
We speak, but say nothing. We see but do not perceive reality. We hear, but we do comprehend God’s truth. And there remains no real life in us. We are dead in our trespasses and sins.
And so the Psalm wraps up with another incitement to bless and praise our God. The God who speaks the words of eternal life to us, who sees and takes notice of us in all circumstances, who hears our every prayer, every groan, every plea, and who ever lives to bring to completion in us the work that He has begun.
Praise the Lord! Praise the name of the Lord, give praise, O servants of the Lord! For this is our God. And none who trust Him, will ever be ashamed.
God willing, we’ll be back tomorrow.