“And they'll began calling Barnabas, Zeus, and Paul, Hermes . . .” Acts 14:12
There is no God like our God. Neither is there any other god beside Him. For He alone is the great King above all gods. Yet, everyday people fashion of themselves other gods. Whether this be formed from our own cosmology, biology, or theology. Whenever we form ourselves by ourselves, we leave out most of ourselves.
Upon seeing the lame man healed, the crowd had falsely assumed Paul and Barnabas to be incarnations of Zeus and Hermes. But Zeus and his entourage were nothing but empty things, images crafted from mutable materials and figments of human imagination, hollow, empty, and useless.
The crowd of outsiders, to be fair, were prepared to put Paul and Barnabas on pedestals for public worship. Whoever performed the most tricks was, to their way of thinking, the most God-like.
Idolatry today has a veneer of false dignity. It’s a down and dirty gritty practice. Idolatry takes imperfect things and exalts them to the place of God. It’s the nature of humanity to prefer firebrands who pretend to be God, to the God who condescends to become man. It’s the thirst for the spectacular and miraculous which causes us to be so easily satisfied with cheap imitations.
Even in our day of sophistication and technological savvy, it’s our natural instinct to take earthly imperfect things and idolize them as gods. Some idolize their nation and follow it with complete loyalty, a depth of allegiance which belongs only to the transcendent God. Some people idolize their business, and put its claims over their family. Some idolize other people and so surrender themselves so that there is no room left for higher loyalties that are over and above our deepest ties and affections.
Christianity stands in stark contrast to the base practice of idol worship. Oh, that we would see the futility of the temporary, and turn from all our sins and idols, and walk in the footsteps of our Lord, who set aside His prerogatives that He might taste the darkness and die a death on the cross.
What things have you prioritized over Jesus?