Your Choice in Worship
(1) Not to us, Yahweh, not to us, but to your name be the glory because of your steadfast love and your faithfulness. (2) Why should the nations say, “Where, now, (is) their God?” (3) Our God (is) in the heavens. He does whatever he pleases. (4) Their idols (are) silver and gold, the work of the hands of man. (5) They have mouths, but they do not speak, eyes, but they do not see, (6) ears, but they do not hear, noses, but they do not smell, (7) hands, but do not feel, feet, but do not walk. They do not make a sound in their throats. (8) Those who make them become like them as do all who trust in them.
The introductory repetition of “not to us” followed by the contrastive “but to your name” strongly emphasizes the focus of the psalm, the greatness and glory of Yahweh (vs. 1). This declaration of worship is followed by a question, the type of taunt Israel’s neighbors would have used to mock Israel’s worship of an invisible God who cannot be seen or touched (vs. 2). In the next verse we find the answer: Yahweh, our sovereign Lord, is too great to be portrayed by a mere image or statue (vs. 3).
The psalmist follows this opening with a mockery of idolatry using six repetitive phrases in the pattern of “they have (body part)” along with “but do not (bodily function).” These include mouths that do not speak, eyes that cannot see, ears that cannot hear, noses that cannot smell, feet that do not walk, and throats that fail to make a sound (vss. 4-7). His conclusion leaves no doubt regarding the catastrophic, degrading effect idolatry has on those who worship images which their own hands have made (vs. 8).
I. Yahweh’s love and faithfulness displayed in all his works (1-3)
II. The futility of idolatrous worship and how it destroys idolaters (4-8)
The adoration of Yahweh, when contrasted with pagan worship, powerfully reveals the destructive futility of idolatry.
Which would you prefer to worship, an image of metal or stone you have made with your own hands or the sovereign creator of the universe? That really is the choice all generations have faced, a choice between bowing down to manmade idols as opposed to doing homage to the true and living God. And there is an additional issue to consider, the principle that we inevitably become like that which or the one whom we worship (vs. 8). The danger with idolatry is not turning into a statue made of stone, wood, or metal but in opening ourselves to the insidious influence of demonic forces that lurk behind the idols.
Paul described the utter futility of idolatry in Romans 1: “Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles” (Rom. 1:22 & 23). Scripture clearly sets forth the options. If we choose to worship idols, we will spiral down into a pit of horrors. If we choose to worship Yahweh, we will be raised up to become more and more like the glorious God whom we adore. What or whom we worship literally defines our destiny because it serves as the template, the pattern, for what we will become in eternity. When we view worship in this way, we begin to understand how crucial a role it plays in our lives.