We Are What We Worship (Psalm 135:15-18)

The idols of the nations are silver and gold,
The work of man’s hands.
They have mouths, but they do not speak;
They have eyes, but they do not see;
They have ears, but they do not hear,
Nor is there any breath at all in their mouths.
Those who make them will be like them,
Everyone who trusts in them.

Psalm 135:15-18

I need reminding of this from time to time: I will become like the thing I worship. If I worship the Living God — the God Who created everything and is most often described in The Bible as holy — then I will become like Him. The process may be slow and take a painfully long time to show results, but it will happen. Likewise, if I worship anything else, I will become like that thing.

The psalmist gives a brief summary of what idols are. They are described as being made of silver and gold. This means that our idols cost us something. If our idol is social standing, then genuine friendships may be the silver and gold sacrificed to set up our idol. If our idol is something related to appearance — car, house, clothes, gismos — then we will literally spend our money obtaining our idols.

They are the work of man’s hands. This means that we make our own idols. Anything we set up in the place that rightly belongs to God; anything we worship that is not God is an idol. Sometimes our idols were made by someone else and we were called to worship them. The whole notion of “Keeping up with the Joneses” is a prime example of someone else — marketers and manufacturers — making the idol (social standing) and calling people to worship it.

The psalmist then gives a series of contradictions about our idols. They mouths, eyes, and ears but they cannot speak, see, or hear. Our idols do not speak, only those who act as their priests speak. The True and Living God speaks for Himself. Our idols do not see. If they did, they might recognize the damage caused by worship of them and try to fix it. But God does see and He knows full well the damage wrought by our idolatry. Our idols do not hear us. If I pray to social standing, I am talking to myself. If I pray to God, I am speaking to God. Lastly, the psalmist notes that there is no breath at all in their mouths. They’re dead.

The psalmist concludes with this observation: Those who make them will be like them. If I set up an idol and worship it, I will reach a place where lots of sound comes from my mouth, but I say nothing; my eyes seem to constantly be watching, but I don’t see anything; my ears are there, but I don’t hear anything anyone says to me. In short, I become a dead man walking.

The remedy for all of this is simple: Worship the True and Living God. If I want to see, then I must worship the God Who Sees. If I want to hear and understand, then I must worship the God Who Hears. If I want to have something worthwhile to say, then I must worship The Word made flesh. If I want to be alive — alive in the fullest sense of the word — then I must worship the Living God; must worship He Who is the Life.

Where is my attention today? Where am I spending my energies and resources? That tells me who and what I worship. If I am spending my time and energy and attention on God and in obedience to Him, then I worship Him. If not, then something else has usurped His throne.

I will become like what I worship. Do I want to be voiceless, sightless, without understanding, and dead or do I want to speak words of life and see things as they really are and hear the voice of God speaking to me and all of creation praising Him and be intensely alive? The choice is mine.

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