Theme: No Other Gods
In this week’s lessons, we see why the Lord is to be praised continually.
Scripture: Psalm 135:1-21
Are not other gods also to be worshiped? How could they be if God alone is the good, great, gracious, persevering and unchangeable God? Verses 15-18 make this point, contrasting the true God with the impotent gods of the heathen. These verses are repeated from Psalm 115:4-6, 8.
The problem with other gods is that they are no gods at all, for there is only one holy and true God. In his great Treasury of David Charles Haddon Spurgeon tells about a missionary to India named John Thomas. One day he saw a large number of people waiting near an idol temple. As soon as the doors were opened the people streamed into it, and Thomas went in with them. An idol was there before the people. Thomas walked up to it and raised his hands for silence. When the people became quiet he touched the idol’s eyes and said, “It has eyes, but it cannot see!” He touched its ears, saying, “It has ears, but it cannot hear!” “It has a nose, but it cannot smell! It has hands, but it cannot handle! It has a mouth, but it cannot speak! Neither is there any breath in it.”
Thomas might have been killed for his boldness. But at the critical moment, when the people might have rushed upon him to beat him and kill him, an old Brahmin, convicted of his folly by what had been said, cried out, “It has feet, but it cannot run away!” And the people agreed, being ashamed of themselves, and left the temple.1
Would that people today might see the folly of worshiping that which is nothing, things that cannot either help or save. Sadly, “Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them” (v. 18). If we worship things which man can produce, we will become as impotent and empty as those things. But if we worship God, by the grace of God we will become like God, and we will both “glorify God and enjoy him forever.”
In the last stanza the call to worship uttered at the start is repeated but is extended to the house of Israel, the house of Aaron, the house of Levi and to all “who fear him,” that is, to all who know God (vv. 19-21).
John F. MacArthur, from whom I drew some of the material in the beginning of this week’s study, explains what happened in his church when people began to take the nature of true worship seriously: “They began to look at superficialities as an affront to a holy God. They saw worship as a participant’s activity, not a spectator sport. Many realized for the first time that worship is the church’s ultimate priority—not public relations, not recreation and social activities, not boosting attendance figures, but worshiping God.” And they were “drawn to the only reliable and sufficient worship manual,” which is “Scripture.”2 I think that is exactly what God wants. May we have more of it in our day!
1Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Treasury of David, vol. 3b, Psalms 120-150 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1968), p. 200.
2John F. MacArthur, Jr., “How Shall We Then Worship?” in John H. Armstrong, editor, The Coming Evangelical Crisis (Chicago, IL: Moody, 1996), p. 177.
Why do we not worship other gods?
How is the call to worship extended in the last stanza of the psalm?
Application: What idols do unbelieving friends and/or neighbors worship? How can you present John Thomas’s message to them?
Prayer: Pray that the worship services in your church give glory to God.
Key Point: If we worship things which man can produce, we will become as impotent and empty as those things. But if we worship God, by the grace of God we will become like God, and we will both “glorify God and enjoy him forever.”
For Further Study: If you have grown in your knowledge and love of the Psalms through these studies, and would like to add them to your library, the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals is offering James Boice’s three-volume paperback set for 25% off the regular price.