"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.”
- Isaiah 40:28
A new friend of mine told me that if a person doubts the existence of God, tell him/her the watchmaker.
When you buy a watch, you won’t be able to see the person who made it. You see the watch that it exists yet you don’t doubt that the watchmaker exists. Everything we see and even our body, our life, our spirit, our soul was created by God. Yes, we couldn’t see Him but it doesn’t mean that He doesn’t exists. Things exists because of Him just like how the watch exists because of the watchmaker.
And so I remembered the Bible…
Isn’t it that in everything that we buy, there’s an instruction? There’s also these informations as to how that thing became what it is now? And the maker also tells us the good way on how to use it. There are words from the maker of the product we bought. People say that the bible is not a factual book or that it’s not something that someone can believe in because SOMEONE WROTE IT not the Creator himself.
Well thing is.. Why do we believe those instructions, those informations if the maker itself didn’t write them? We know that the manufacturer wrote them because we know that it came from them even if it’s not actually “the maker” who wrote them down . It’s their product. Why should be doubt?
Same as in the Bible… Even if there are many authors in the Bible, those words that they were writing came from God Himself. He created us so why would He leave us hanging? Why wouldn’t He guide us into the proper way of living our life (which He created himself)? God knows us more than we know ourselves.
We are more valuable than anything that we see. I couldn’t see any reason as to why He would leave us hanging. He gave us Jesus. His own Son. What more do you need to see?
Exodus 20:5 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them.”
At first glance, the second commandment is very straightforward - there is to be no trace of idolatry, period. Americans may call it religious diversity, multiculturalism, and pluralism - but God calls it wickedness. Whether it’s one of the hundreds of Hindu gods, a Buddha statue, or a crucifix - humanity has no business bowing down or praying to a statue. Genesis 1:27 tells us that we were created in the image of God: “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” How silly it is when a man, created in God’s own image, makes a carved or engraved image and worships it!
God makes fun of this kind of behavior in the words of Isaiah 44. Listen to His ridicule in verses 14-18 (NLT): “He cuts down cedars; he selects the cypress and the oak; he plants the pine in the forest to be nourished by the rain. Then he uses part of the wood to make a fire. With it he warms himself and bakes his bread. Then—yes, it’s true—he takes the rest of it and makes himself a god to worship! He makes an idol and bows down in front of it! He burns part of the tree to roast his meat and to keep himself warm. He says, ‘Ah, that fire feels good.’ Then he takes what’s left and makes his god: a carved idol! He falls down in front of it, worshiping and praying to it. ‘Rescue me!’ he says. ‘You are my god!’ Such stupidity and ignorance! Their eyes are closed, and they cannot see. Their minds are shut, and they cannot think.” No matter what the culture, no matter what the religion - God hates idolatry!
Now, most believers would agree wholeheartedly with this! They would never allow an idol into their home! Many of them even go to the extreme of avoiding Chinese restaurants so they would never have to see a statue of Buddha! But not so fast - the spiritual side of the second commandment is just as straightforward.
You see, the second commandment isn’t only referring to pagan idolatry. It was intended to apply to the worship of Yahweh as well! Listen to what God said in Deuteronomy 4:15-16: “Take careful heed to yourselves, for you saw no form when YAHWEH spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, lest you act corruptly and make for yourselves a carved image in the form of any figure…”
Do you see it? God didn’t appear in a physical shape on Mt. Sinai because He knew that if He did, Israel would begin to make images of Him to worship! God made sure that the Israelites would never be able to reduce Him to a man-made object. To prevent this, God revealed Himself in glory that appeared like fire and smoke. This is an important point to remember - God’s glory can never be duplicated by human effort!
So how does this apply to us? It shows us how much God hates it when we worship Him in our own way! Just like the Israelites were prohibited from worshiping Yahweh through idolatry (a command that they ignored in Exodus 32), we cannot use our own programs, systems and traditions to worship God.
What do I mean by that? We can’t hold onto our denominational by-laws, our church programs and schedules, and our crowd-pleasing tactics and completely ignore what God’s Word says. When we religiously follow our own ways of approaching God in worship while ignoring what God says - that becomes a form of idolatry! We take our “image” of what church should be (feeding the poor, lively music, inspirational messages) and make it into “God”! When has that ever worked?
Jesus is just offended at this as He is at a polytheist sacrificing to Zeus! Listen to what He has to say about our man-made rituals and programs: Mark 7:8-9 “For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men…He said to them, ‘All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.’”
So you have two options. One - you can hold on to the idolatry of denominationalism and church tradition. If you’re going to stay here, know this: you’re standing in direct opposition to God! Two - You can let go of empty tradition and meaningless worship and embrace the true glory of the Creator! You can’t do both. When you hold the traditions of men to be sacred, you are laying aside the commandments of God. True worship must be biblical - not merely inspirational!
John 4:23-24 “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth (worship based on the Word, not tradition).
Exodus 20:2-3 “I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.”
Literally translated, “You shall have no other gods before Me.” means “Don’t have any other gods in My face.” God is very jealous for you - for your time, for your energy, for your devotion. In fact, two verses further into this chapter, God reveals His name as El Qanna - the Jealous God. He has the audacity to tell you, “It’s all of you or nothing!” How could He do that?
Look at verse two again: “I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” The Israelites exodus from Egyptis a picture of our salvation. God is saying to us, “I saved you. I brought you out of your slavery to sin and gave you a new life. Now I demand your entire devotion.” God will not share you with anything!
Honestly, this exclusive devotion to God should be a natural thing for believers. After all, what else could we do? Paul said it best in Romans 12:2 (ERV): “So I beg you, brothers and sisters, because of the great mercy God has shown us, offer your lives as a living sacrifice to him—an offering that is only for God and pleasing to him. Considering what he has done, it is only right that you should worship him in this way.” Exclusive service to the God who saved us is the natural response for a believer.
God is commanding us to focus on Him. We should never give anything or anyone else the highest priority - either in our decisions or in our devotion. This begs the question: Is this the case for the average American believer?
Think about this: According to a church poll by David Eikenberry, 59% of professing Christians read the Bible “occasionally.” Only 16% of American Christians could say that they read their Bible daily! Despite everything that God has done for us, despite the Bible being the best-seller year after year, despite our claim to be devoted to our Savior - only 16 out of 100 Christians spend time in God’s Word each day! The funny thing is, the most common excuse for not reading the Bible is “I don’t have enough time!”
This is funny because of the fact that the average American spends 26 hours a week watching TV - nearly a decade of their lives! No time? How many believers ever realize that they put a higher level of devotion on an electronic box than on the God who saved them? Cheap entertainment and useless hobbies should never displace God’s position in our lives!
But entertainment and recreation isn’t the only thing that fights for God’s place in life. All too often our care and concern for our loved ones overwhelms our dedication to God. “I can’t go to church on Sundays - that’s my family time!” “I know God’s asking me to give that money to Him, but I was planning to take my family to dinner with it.” “I’m not going to talk about Jesus at my parents’ house - it might cause problems.” Statements like these show where our true devotion lies. God absolutely does want us to love our family and friends - but never at the expense of our love (and obedience) to Him! When we put more focus on our loved ones that we do on our Lord - they become our gods!
God doesn’t just hate it when things consume our devotion, He also hates it when anything other than Him guides our decisions. He demands the final say in everything that we do! No believer should make decisions based solely on money, fear, pressure, or self-interest. Every decision in life must be guided by God’s Word!
And I do mean every decision: Where you live How much you give How you treat your family How often you go to church What you do for fun Every choice you face in life should be decided by God’s Word. This is where your devotion for Him pays off! The more time you spend devoted to God’s Word, the easier it will be to know what decisions He wants you to make.
So the choice is yours. Are you going to follow the same half-hearted path that most of American Christianity is on? Are you going to keep calling Jesus “Lord” and still reserve the rights to your own life? Are you going to keep your other gods standing in the face of Yahweh? Or are you - once and for all - going to sell out to the God who saved you?
Joshua 24:15 “But maybe you don’t want to serve YAHWEH. You must choose for yourselves today. Today you must decide who you will serve. Will you serve the gods that your ancestors worshiped when they lived on the other side of the Euphrates River? Or will you serve the gods of the Amorites who lived in this land? You must choose for yourselves. But as for me and my family, we will serve YAHWEH.”
Leviticus 18:22 NKJV “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.”
Leviticus 18:22 NLT “Do not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin.”
No matter what side you’re on, everyone who’s been involved in the debate over homosexuality knows this verse. The world uses this verse to illustrate how backwards and intolerant the church is toward an oppressed minority. While many inside the church use this verse to lump certain people together into condemnation. Still others in the church say that this verse shows how outdated some parts of the Bible are. All of these arguments are completely wrong, and every one of them miss a major point - this verse condemns the act of homosexuality, but not those who practice it!
The reason this debate has become so heated is because we’ve used one particular sin to define a person. We call them them ‘homosexuals’ - as if what they do is who they are. But I’m telling you, there is a difference between a person’s behavior and their identity! Sure it’s a sin, sure God hates it, but that’s why Jesus came! He came to pay the penalty that our sin deserves - to bring forgiveness to the sinner! If we’re ever going to reach the world for Jesus, we need to learn how to separate what a sinner does from what their worth.
Which one of these sins do you think is worse? Homosexuality Pride Lying Murder Gossip If you’re like most Christians, even if you wouldn’t say it, homosexuality would be at the top of your list. After all, pride isn’t a ‘real sin.’ Lying and Gossip are wrong every time except when we do it. And murder can be repented of and then you’ll have a powerful testimony! (I’m describing our attitudes toward these sins, not the truth!) But homosexuality? It’s permanent! It’s a black mark on your eternal record! God calls it an abomination!
Would it surprise you that each of these sins are called an abomination to God? It’s right here in Proverbs 6:16-19: “These six things the Lord hates; yes, seven are an abomination to Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.” There you have it, seven sins that are as detestable to God as homosexuality!
What’s my point here? Well, do you believe that lying is unforgivable? Do you believe that a liar can never change? Do you think that slander and discord is so deep-rooted into a gossip’s character that they can never change? Of course not! If we don’t look at these other abominations that way, then why do we condemn sinners who are caught in homosexuality to a worse fate?
This whole debate of accepting or condemning homosexuals completely misses the point! One side claims that homosexuals are born this way, so they should just be accepted. The other side says that homosexuals are an abomination and cuts them off. But the point is this: no behavior makes a person less valuable to God! Of course it’s sin, what would you expect from a sinner? But, in God’s eyes, one sinner isn’t better or worse than another! And the beauty of it all is that God wants to separate us from our sin!
We know that God doesn’t see sinners as unchangeable. God is in the business of separating people from their sin! Aren’t you glad that God didn’t condemn you for what you were doing? When we were sinners, when we were trapped by our behavior, Jesus still saw our worth! He died to sever sin’s hold on us. Don’t you think that wonderful freedom should be offered to everyone? Or are there some sins that are just too ‘gross’ to be redeemed from?
There were sinners in Jesus’ day that were looked at like this. The religious leaders condemned them because of the things they did. They were rejected, shunned and ridiculed. But whenever Jesus encountered them, He embraced them! The Pharisees were shocked! They asked His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
Do you see it? The Pharisees condemned the person with the behavior. But Jesus separated them! Even though He never accepted or endorsed the sin, He loved the sinner. And it was His love that changed their lives! Zaccheus repented of his sin when Jesus ate dinner in his home. The adulteress changed her life when Jesus defended her from her own actions.
This is my point: being sweet to someone who is involved in immorality doesn’t mean you’re endorsing that immorality. We’re called to show the same love that God showed us. I’m so glad that God loved me in spite of my sin - aren’t you?
Romans 2:4 “The goodness of God leads you to repentance”