The Lord made the heavens

For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the LORD made the heavens. Psalm 96:5 (ESV)

I’ve been thinking about this verse for a couple of days. There are many places in Scripture where we are reminded of the utter helplessness and impotence of man-made objects of worship. These are “idols” that become “gods” to us. These are objects that we fashion ourselves, as in Psalm 115:4-8:

Their idols are silver and gold,

the work of human hands.

They have mouths, but do not speak;

eyes, but do not see.

They have ears, but do not hear;

noses, but do not smell.

They have hands, but do not feel;

feet, but do not walk;

and they do not make a sound in their throat.

Those who make them become like them;

so do all who trust in them.

Impotent, powerless, insensitive, empty. Made of precious materials, but of no value whatsoever.

But why in the immediate context, does the psalmist compare the “gods” to the Lord as the maker of “the heavens”?

This is what I’ve been thinking about. The Lord of my life “made the heavens.” This echoes Genesis 1:1, In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Out of nothing, God created everything. What has an idol created? It had to be fashioned, either as a physical object, as with the “worthless idols” referred to in the psalm, or as an object in my mind, such as my sense of self-worth, pride, desire, passion, or self-confidence.

“But the LORD made the heavens.”

Oh, foolish heart! Why do I continue to trust in myself? Why do I continue to put myself as the greatest idol of my life? All worthless idols are just means to an end: self-exaltation. I don’t even want the idols or want to worship the idols for what they are. I want what they can give me, make me–how they can satisfy my never-ending need for what I want: glory.

And I resist God’s glorious call to me because I know that God will not serve me. I must come to him and worship him for who he is, and that alone. Though the phrase, “who he is”, is full of everything that was, is and is to come. He will not be confined by my limited knowledge of him.

I want to be known! “But the LORD made the heavens.”

I want fame! “But the LORD made the heavens.”

I want to be esteemed and revered! “But the LORD made the heavens.”

I want to be loved on my terms! “But the LORD made the heavens.”

I want my desires to be fulfilled! “But the LORD made the heavens.”

“But the LORD made the heavens.”

“But the LORD made the heavens.”

“But the LORD made the heavens.”

I am crushed into surrendered sweetness by the weight of his glory.

Glory, Fame and Independence

120H

“This One who is life itself was revealed to us…” (1 John 1:2*)

Jesus was revealed to me almost twenty years ago in a powerfully dramatic way. I came to the Father through Jesus the Son. I was able to see, maybe for the very first time, just how beautiful, majestic, holy yet loving and compassionate God is through the person and work of Jesus.

From that day forward there has been an ever-growing, ever-deepening “fellowship with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.” (1 Jn 1:3) Fellowship, relationship, need, dependence, belief, trust– add “-ing” to them all. Whatever expresses this with an ongoing, active, living relationship–that is what has been mine in Christ since 1996.

I still battle every day with my desire for glory, fame, and independence.

My flesh still wants glory for itself–right here, right now glory. Never mind eternity and the glory that will be mine in Christ forever. I want to be exalted in the eyes of others, finding my worth there.

I want fame now. Oh, how I want to be famous! Oh, how I desire that! I want those words of praise and acclamation now, while I can hear them. Then, then, I will know that my life means something, amounts to something. (I want in my flesh to derive my identity from my fame and glory as a musician.) I want to exult in my own fame.

But most of all, above all else, I want to be independent.

  • Nobody tells me what to do
  • Nobody places demands on my time
  • Nobody directs how I spend my money
  • Nobody is needed for my strength or existence

 Oh, how I want to be independent!

But fellowship with God the Father through Jesus His Son–authenticated, validated and strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit–destroys all of my fleshly ambitions. They are all supplanted by the blessings of fellowship.

  • I don’t need glory because I exalt God for His glory! For His glorious Name’s sake I do all that I do.
  • I don’t need fame because I exult in God, through Christ. My joy and my identity come through Him. He is all that I am; all that I need.
  • I no longer desire independence because I recognize my need for dependence. And not just dependence on God. No, I also realize that I am depending on the body of Christ, the church, for help, for strength, for the encouragement I need every day.

In this connection to God and to His people I am free and am being freed day by day from my desires for glory, fame and independence.

“What a fellowship, what a joy divine,

Leaning on the everlasting arms…”

*Scripture quote from NLT

Images supplied by Ryan McGuire, http://www.gratisography.com