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Q. 5. Are there more Gods than one? A. There is but one only, the living and true God.
Isaiah 44:6 “Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last, and there is no God besides Me.
Today, we scoff at those in other cultures who make statues and bow down to them. We look back upon the Greek and Romans with their many gods like Zeus, Apollos, Artemis, and Ares, and we think how ignorant those people were. They certainly were ignorant but are we much more enlightened?
John Calvin famously said ““Man's nature, so to speak, is a perpetual factory of idols.” We constantly turn our heart’s attention and desire to things which are not God. We are a people with all kinds of gods. You can list off the usual suspects, money, fame, power, sex, and comfort. But our pantheon of gods does not end there. We take the good things that God created and try to turn them into the source of our joy. We can take even something very good like family and exalt it above God. Men can be tempted to this as they make sure to defend their authority in the home while refusing to acknowledge God-given authority outside of the home in the church or state.
On the other hand, our culture has turned the State into a god which oversees every area of life no matter how small. We reject the law of God and replace it anywhere and everywhere with the law of man. This is because our favorite god to worship is man. Ultimately, we fashion idols out of things created so that our created gods will serve us, our “one true” god. The result of this is as the Bible says an utterly foolishness and depraved mind given over to evil. Rejecting God above leads to foolish thinking. Those idols whom we think will serve us become slave masters, albeit slave masters without any power to save or to give lasting joy.
Listen how the prophet Isaiah describes those who make idols:
Isaiah 44:9-17Those who fashion a graven image are all of them futile, and their precious things are of no profit; even their own witnesses fail to see or know, so that they will be put to shame. Who has fashioned a god or cast an idol to no profit? Behold, all his companions will be put to shame, for the craftsmen themselves are mere men. Let them all assemble themselves, let them stand up, let them tremble, let them together be put to shame. The man shapes iron into a cutting tool and does his work over the coals, fashioning it with hammers and working it with his strong arm. He also gets hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water and becomes weary. Another shapes wood, he extends a measuring line; he outlines it with red chalk. He works it with planes and outlines it with a compass, and makes it like the form of a man, like the beauty of man, so that it may sit in a house. Surely he cuts cedars for himself, and takes a cypress or an oak and raises it for himself among the trees of the forest. He plants a fir, and the rain makes it grow. Then it becomes something for a man to burn, so he takes one of them and warms himself; he also makes a fire to bake bread. He also makes a god and worships it; he makes it a graven image and falls down before it. Half of it he burns in the fire; over this half he eats meat as he roasts a roast and is satisfied. He also warms himself and says, “Aha! I am warm, I have seen the fire.” But the rest of it he makes into a god, his graven image. He falls down before it and worships; he also prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god.”
Again, you are tempted to say, “well of course that is stupid.” And it is. The idol maker takes from the creation things meant for him to use rightly and from that very creation he fashions a god, whom he serves. The prophet Isaiah says its shameful and foolish. No salvation can be expected from these idols.
In contrast to all this folly, God tells his people “Remember these things, O Jacob, And Israel, for you are My servant; I have formed you, you are My servant (Isaiah 44:21).” God fashioned us. He is our maker. We are designed to serve him. Unlike our fashioning gods to serve us, God has made us to serve him. We have one Creator and He alone is God. He is the first and He is the last. Before the world was formed, He was. And after the end of time, He will be. He is the one living and true God. He was not made. He is without equal. He is God. Because He is living and because He is true, then He can and does hear our prayers and can and will save His people.
Let us shut down that idol-making factory in our hearts. Instead, lift up our heart to the only God who is.