No Other gods Before Me

The passenger had to be carried onto the plane and carefully strapped into a first-class seat. She said nothing. As the airliner achieved cruising altitude, perhaps the flight attendants came around. "Would you like a beverage?" one may have asked. No reply. "What about a meal?" The question was ignored. Undoubtedly, the passenger said nothing. She didn't move, didn't look out the window, didn't make a sound. In fact, she didn't even breathe.

The passenger was Matsu, a gold-plated statue believed to be an actual goddess. The mainland Chinese sent her on a tour of Taiwan, some say as a ploy by Beijing to bring Taiwan eventually under its rule through cultural infiltration. The Taiwan Independence Party denounced the goddess's arrival with banners that read, "Chinese people should worship Chinese gods, Taiwanese people should worship Taiwanese gods."

The Bible bluntly rejects idolatry. Isaiah speaks of a man who chops up a tree. Half of it he burns as firewood to keep warm, and the other half he fashions into an idol and worships as his creator. "No one stops to think!" Isaiah exclaims (Isa. 44:19). The half he burnt as firewood did him more good than the other half!

The psalmist twice speaks of gods with eyes that don't see, ears that don't hear, hands that don't feel, and feet that cannot take them anywhere. Those who trust them, he says, will be like them (Ps. 115:4?8; 135:15?18).

Before we gloat over the foolishness of the blind, deaf, and mute, and unbreathing first-class passenger, let's look closer to home. We sing, "I have all for Him forsaken, and all my idols torn from my heart." Is it true? Whatever our idols are--money or booze, sex or power, drugs or food, or just self--it is just as mistaken for us to allow these to usurp God's place as it is to think that Matsu can do anything for us.

"No other gods" means the LORD has an exclusive claim to the temple of our hearts. Our God is a jealous God. There is room for no one else. No one else can save us. No one else will hear our prayers. No one else even cares.

Copyright ©2005 Steve Singleton, All rights reserved.

Steve Singleton has written and edited several books and numerous articles on subjects of interest to Bible students. He has taught Greek, Bible, and religious studies courses Bible college, university, and adult education programs. He has taught seminars and workshops in 11 states and the Caribbean.

Go to his DeeperStudy.com for Bible study resources, no matter what your level of expertise. Explore "The Shallows," plumb "The Depths," or use the well-organized "Study Links" for original sources in English translation. Sign up for Steve's free "DeeperStudy Newsletter."

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