sorrows of those will increase who run after other gods.
16, verse 4).
is not by accident or mere coincidence that the nations
across the earth have, throughout history, felt the
need to worship something or someone greater than themselves.
We were created to worship our Creator, and to delight
in doing so. By His grace it is easy and joyous to worship
a God who is good, pure, holy, unselfish, loving, gentle,
humble and kind. Humble? Is Almighty God humble? Can
the One who is able to create and destroy worlds at
will be humble? Can the One who is able to part the
Red Sea so that over one million souls could pass through
on dry ground; the One who is able to thunder commands
to His people from a mountain-top boiling with smoke
and fire; can such a One really be humble? Certainly,
His power is so beyond our understanding, our grasp,
as would seem to make us totally insignificant. But
does that not just prove the fact of His humility? We
are so insignificant, and yet He reaches down to care
for us. What is more, God tells us He is humble. Now
for one of us to say we are humble, it does not ring
true, it puts us in mind of creepy Uriah Heep from the
Dickens novel, David Copperfield. The moment we start
trying to convince others how humble we are, any semblance
of humility turns into vain conceit. On the other hand,
if God says He is humble, then no vanity or conceit
or any other sinful trait or wrong motive can be involved.
We know He speaks the truth. In Jesus, we hear and see
that humility. He comes down to our level and pleads
that we come to Him:
to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will
give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from
me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will
find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my
burden is light.”
chapter 11, verses 28-30).
God that was all-powerful, but not humble, would be
easy to fear. A God that is all-powerful, yet humble,
is easy to worship---and to love. And, as we have seen,
and as the Bible repeats many times, there is only one
living God. All other gods are idols which are nothing
at all. But men will worship idols of every conceivable
shape and shade. We must worship, idolise, something
or someone. Because of the curse of sin, even our ideas
of worship are completely misguided, and our efforts
ruined and depraved; they may even be in the demonic
realm unless we worship God through faith in Christ.
In the Old Testament, we see God constantly warning
His people of the utter foolishness and the terrible
consequences of worshipping false gods, as did the nations
around them. God chose Israel to bring mankind back
into a true understanding and a real relationship with
is what the LORD says---Israel’s King and Redeemer,
the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last;
apart from me there is no God.”
chapter 44, verse 6).
are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there
is no other Rock; I know not one.”
who make idols are nothing, and the things they treasure
God continues to speak through Isaiah of the complete
foolishness of men who create idols with their own hands
and then bow down to them:
cut down cedars, or perhaps took a cypress or oak-------It
is man’s fuel for burning; some of it he takes and warms
himself, he kindles a fire and bakes bread. But he also
fashions a god and worships it; he makes an idol and
bows down to it. Half of the wood he burns in the fire;
over it he prepares his meal, he roasts his meat and
eats his fill. He also warms himself and says, “Ah!
I am warm; I see the fire.” From the rest he makes a
god, his idol; he bows down to it and worships. He prays
to it and says, “Save me; you are my god.”--------No-one
stops to think, no-one has the knowledge or understanding
to say, “Half of it I used for fuel; I even baked bread
over its coals, I roasted meat and I ate. Shall I make
a detestable thing from what is left? Shall I bow down
to a block of wood?” He feeds on ashes, a deluded heart
misleads him; he cannot save himself or say, “Is not
this thing in my right hand a lie?”
chapter 44, verses 14-17, 19-20).
some might say, ‘no-one carves wooden idols in this
day and age, do they?’ We might not carve them with
our hands, but we do in our hearts. Many bow down to
false gods through false religions and philosophies,
many through music and pop idols, football and other
sports, many through lust and greed, many through self-centred
conceit and vain imaginings of their own intellect,
many through so-called science, the very word which
implies knowledge. But the theory of evolution, for
example, is not based on knowledge of any sort, it is
entirely a theory---and a very misguided one; yet to
millions it is a false god which they bow down to without
their even realising it. They feed on ashes, a deluded
heart misleads them, none will think to consider ‘Is
not this thing in my heart a lie?’
of us even trust in a false god named ‘doing good.’
His religion is called humanism. It teaches that man
can, and should, do good to his fellow beings without
the need to believe in God---but how quietly conceited,
how silently arrogant, such a belief is; silently arrogant
to its adherents---but deafeningly arrogant to their
purposely ignored Creator. Indeed, we are commanded
to love our neighbours and to do good to others, but
if we try and keep the Giver of the command out of it,
then we only do evil. If only we could see ourselves
as we really are, if only we could see how far short
our efforts to do anything good fall on God’s scale
of goodness. He says even our best efforts, if not done
in faith, are filthy in His sight:
of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our
righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel
up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us
away. No-one calls on your name or strives to lay hold
of you; for you have hidden your face from us and made
us waste away because of our sins.
chapter 64, verses 6-7).
needs to believe in something; even the atheist may
take pride in his own non-belief, which is really a
wrong belief, which is a false god. God says that we
have no excuse for not believing in His existence, but
sinful man likes his sin and does not want to hear about
responsibility, consequences and judgement. So, we deliberately
look away and attempt to keep God at bay; and everything,
every diversion we use to do this becomes a false god,
something we carve in our minds and our hearts. To God
they are just as real as the idols which surrounded
ancient Israel---and to us they are just as deadly!
wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all
the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the
truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about
God is plain to them, because God has made it plain.
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible
qualities---his eternal power and divine nature—-have
been clearly seen, being understood from what has been
made, so that men are without excuse.
chapter 1, verses 18-20).
suppress the knowledge of God by our own wickedness
in all its varied forms. None of us will have any excuse
when we face Him in judgement, and that we will face
Him in judgement is certain. We must make peace with
God now, through faith in Jesus Christ.
unless we are enlightened by the Spirit of Christ, the
Spirit of TRUTH, we have no idea of our depraved state:
heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?
chapter 17, verse 9).
can, and we cannot hide the smallest vain thought from
the LORD search the heart and examine your mind, to
reward a man according to his conduct, according to
what his deeds deserve.”
there is the fearful reality: if God rewards us according
to our deeds, we are all lost. Do not leave it to chance---you
will lose! Dear unbeliever, cry out to God; confess
your sinfulness; ask His forgiveness; believe that Jesus
died on the cross and shed His precious blood for YOU,
so that on the grounds of His righteousness, not yours,
God can forgive you and save you from the dreadful rewards
your deeds deserve.
‘If you confess with your mouth that “Jesus is Lord”
and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the
dead you will be saved.’ All else is vanity and false
had constantly warned Israel about false gods to show
the difference between Himself and idols and gods that
are really nothing---they are as dead things, of no
account. We use them as excuses for not listening to
the real God. But the true God let it be known early
on in Israel’s history that He is the only Living God:
said to the Israelites, “Come here and listen to the
words of the LORD your God. This is how you will know
that the living God is among you-------.”
chapter 3, verses 9-10).
David, and other men who were inspired by the Holy Spirit,
wrote the Psalms, which speak powerfully to God’s people
everywhere and in every generation:
the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants
for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living
42, verses 1-2).
lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty! My soul
yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my
heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
84, verses 1-2).
are several occasions in the New Testament where we
see the term ‘living God’ in use. The apostle Paul wrote
to the Corinthian believers:
show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of
our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit
of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets
of human hearts.
Corinthians chapter 3, verse 3).
may have noticed that the term ‘living God’ has not
been specifically applied to Jesus yet. Well, just a
little pause for thought will show that it is indeed
a title which can be attributed to our Lord. We have
seen earlier that among His titles are ‘Mighty God’;
and when His disciple, Thomas, saw Him after He had
risen from the dead, he exclaimed, ‘My Lord and my God!’
And we know Jesus is the Word, and ‘the Word was God.’
We don’t need to go any further---Jesus Christ is God,
certainly a living God, undoubtedly ‘the’ living God.
is a title Jesus gives Himself in Revelation, chapter
1. Several Bible versions use the term ‘the Living One’,
the Weymouth New Testament uses the term ‘the ever-living
One’, while the KJV reads ‘I am he that liveth.’ Around
AD 90, John, the writer of Revelation, saw the glorified
I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he
placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid.
I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I
was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And
I hold the keys of death and Hades.”
chapter 1, verses 17-18)
am the Living One’, He says. ‘I was dead’----indeed
He was, and that for our sakes. But even the tremendous
power of death could not hold its greatest Prize. For
a little while the Devil must have gloated over the
apparent success of what he surely thought of as his
masterplan---the Son of God was dead. Satan might even
have said to himself, in a mocking reference to our
Lord’s final words on the cross, ‘It is finished!’ and,
he might have added, ‘And I have won!’ If so, he had
not yet grasped the awful truth, awful for him, wonderful
for us, that it was the Devil himself who was finished:
that by his death he might destroy him who holds the
power of death---that is the devil----
chapter 2, verse 14).
And on the third day, on that glorious resurrection
morning when the sun of righteousness rose with healing
in its wings, a new age began. The world was bathed
in a new light; the Devil’s cause was lost; hope had
arrived; salvation was here; truth, goodness, mercy
and righteousness triumphs. God’s will had been done
perfectly by the perfect Son; the Father’s terrible
justice had been satisfied, and repentant sinners could
now be forgiven---whichever, and choose how many, of
God’s laws they might have broken; the age of Grace
(undeserved kindness) had begun.
the power of Almighty God, the fully obedient, sinless
Son, who had willingly laid down His life, was brought
from the ferocious grip of death. The greatest power
the Devil had was the power of death. Jesus went into
it and came out holding the keys to both death and Hades.
The strongman had been bound and his house ransacked.
Eventually his house will be pulled down completely,
and every trace of him, his house and his domain will
be wiped out forever.
the Living One could bind the Devil and take away his
power of death; only the Living One had it within Himself
to allow death to take Him fully in its clutches that
He might become the very death of death---what a Saviour!
Only the Living One, after being raised up to die on
the cross, could raise Himself up from the grave. And,
be in no doubt, this same Living One is more than happy
to raise from death all who look to, and believe in,
my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son
and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will
raise him up at the last day.”
chapter 6, verses 40).
Living One, who has the keys of death and Hades, is
Himself the Key to heaven.