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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
Devotional: April 11th
“Shall a man make gods unto himself?”
One of the most telling satires upon the worship of idols is to be found in the book of the prophet Isaiah.
They that make a graven image are all of them vanity; and their delectable things or favourite idols
If they had any sort of sense they would themselves testify to the uselessness of their idols. They will not allow their minds to be disabused, or else their own experience would undeceive them;
These mighty good-for-nothing gods, when are they made divine? at what period become they worthy of adoration?
The stupid idol and its senseless votaries shall be alike laughed to scorn. Let both makers and worshippers, and all who have a hand in the business, come forth and answer a few questions which will shame them:
The prophet commences with the last workman from whom the idol comes, he takes us to the smith’s forge, when the coating of precious metal is fashioned. But this maker of gods has human weaknesses, he is thirsty, and having no water he faints. A mighty god-maker this! Surely the god is not in the craftsman’s shop.
Now he goes a little further back, to the place where the frame-work of the idol is made, and shows us the carpenter with his line, plane and chisel; surely amid this pencilling and marking no trace of god-head is visible.
Lest it should be imagined that there was some antecedent sacredness in the wood before it came into the shop, the prophet takes us a step further and shows it to us growing, planted and watered like other trees.
Here we see the timber felled, and, lo, it serves the double purpose of baking bread and making a god.
One portion of the tree cooks meat, and blazes on the hearth till men are gladdened with the blaze, the rest is addressed in pleading tones, “Deliver me, for thou art my god.” O sottish stupidity!
Surely a judicial blindness is over the minds of idolaters. If men were men, and not lovers of sin, they would give up this absurdity.
Man has fallen so low through sin that he makes food for himself of that which is unsubstantial as the wind; his reason is perverted, his love of sin has blinded him, he believes lies which are as palpable in their falsehood as if they lay in his open palm. O Lord, have pity on man’s madness, and save him from himself. Amen.
“From all your idols will I cleanse you.”
We find the whale history of the book of Judges summed up in brief in
This was their root sin, out of which all the rest of their faults arose. They were led into Canaan on purpose to execute the criminal nations, and they were either too idle, too timid, or too rebellious to carry out their office. Hence all the sin and sorrow which followed. No man can calculate the evils which may spring from the loins of one act of disobedience. If we leave one sin in our nature unsubdued, it will plague us terribly. O for grace to make thorough work, and perfect purging. Only the Holy Spirit can aid us in this.
Companionship leads to imitation. We cannot live with the wicked without feeling their influence. Those coals which do not burn us may yet blacken us.
The heathen worship was sometimes tasteful and enticing, and it was frequently licentious and fascinating to the flesh, and so by their tastes and their passions God’s own people were entrapped.
Psalms 106:37 , Psalms 106:38
These sacrifices were the culminating point in idolatrous worship, and they were also the most horrible of crimes. What a miserable fact, that a people who had known the Lord should fall so low as to murder their innocent babes at the shrine of demons! Is not human nature capable of the worst imaginable crimes? Could even devils perpetrate worse enormities than these?
Looking upon their loathsome deeds he loathed them, and determined to let them feel that he would not endure sin even in his own people. Sin was worse in them than in others, for they knew better, and were under the most solemn bonds to act better.
See the longsuffering of God to deliver them many times, though they returned to their wickedness. Have we not tasted of the same great mercy?
How beautiful is this language! How it sets forth the tender heart of God! O God, who can pardon as thou dost? Who but thyself would keep covenant with such a people? What multitudes of mercies were expended in covering such multitudes of sins! As in a looking-glass, we may here see our own lives, and it is enough to bring the water into our eyes, as with mingled shame and gratitude we gaze upon our own portraits.
He who brought water out of flints, made even their oppressors sorry for them, and ere long he found means to deliver them.
Thus in after ages other captives profited by the history of ancient times. We should do the same. Let us now join in the doxology which concludes the psalm.
Save, O our God, thine own elect,
From heathen lands thy sons collect;
We to thy holy name will raise
Our songs, and triumph in thy praise.
Blest be Jehovah, Israel’s Lord!
His name be evermore adored!
Amen, let all the people cry!
Praise ye Jehovah, God Most High!
the Fifth Week after Easter
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