“It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens. When he utters his voice there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, and he makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain, and he brings forth the wind from his storehouses. Every man is stupid and without knowledge; every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols, for his images are false, and there is no breath in them.”
– Jeremiah 51:15–17
These few verses, in a powerful way, depict the contrast between the one true God over all. Who made the earth by His power, established the world with His wisdom, and stretched out the heavens. He causes lightning to come with the rain. He brings forth the wind from his storehouses. Just the power, the supremacy of the one true creator God. Contrasted with man who forms idols together, images together with no breath in them, no power in them. They are worthless idols, and yet we worship them. And so I read these verses, I think about all kinds of ways we idolize all kinds of things in our lives and in the world around us.
These Verses Cause Us to Look for Idolatry in Our Own Lives
I see evidence of this. I think about Hindu belief. That there are millions upon millions of gods. I go to India and see little idols everywhere—in cars, in homes, on the side of the street. These worthless images crafted by goldsmiths and other people who have just put these things together. And then we bow down and worship them. I see that happening in places like India, but I see idols all around our lives in America. If you live in the United States or live in whatever part of the world, there are idols all around you. Idols, things we worship, things we give our attention and our affection to apart from God. We look to them for satisfaction apart from God. We look to them for significance apart from God. And we devote ourselves to apart from the one true God who alone is worthy of worship.
We are compelled then in a verse like Jeremiah 51:15–17 to pray oh God, You are the only true God. You made the earth by Your power, established the world by Your wisdom. There is no one like You, nothing like You. You alone, solely, exclusively, You alone are worthy of all worship, all praise, all honor, all glory, all attention, all affection. Even the best things this world gives us, I think about my wife or my kids, they are good gifts from Your hand. And so I want to honor You with these good gifts. I don’t seek these good gifts apart from You. I don’t want to seek these good gifts, or any good gift, apart from You. Knowing idolatries in so many ways, just enjoying the gifts while ignoring the Giver, seeking the gifts and not the Giver.
Jeremiah 51:15–17: Asking God to Help Gaurd Us From Idolatry
Lord, even the good things in our lives, guard us from idolatry. Help us to worship You alone, to love You alone, to trust You alone. Even in our love for our family around us, may it be an expression of our love for You. Our love for friends, for the church, for the lost around us, may it be an expression of love for You. Our enjoyment of things around us, may be ultimately consumed with enjoyment of You, as the Giver of all good gifts. And then, oh God, I pray, I pray for Your supremacy to be made known in my country. And I pray for Your supremacy to be known in India.
Prayer for the Kahar People
I pray for the Kahar people in India, over eight million of them, oh God, eight million of them in northern India, who are worshiping all kinds of different gods. God, please show Your supremacy. You’re the one true God.
Those are breathless idols. They cannot satisfy. They’re not worthy of worship. God, help people, help the Kahar to see that You alone are worthy of worship. Help us to see that You alone are worthy of worship. God, deliver us from all idolatry. Captivate us by Your greatness over all, Your uniqueness over all. Help us to live for Your worship alone. And may Your worship spread among the nations, among the Kahar in India. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.