Speaking to the Soul – January 4

A short reading and prayer for today

No pagan god is like you, O Lord. None can do what you do!
Psalm 86:8 NLT

There have always been lots of gods on offer. A god is anything that calls for our commitment and devotion and in every age there has been a colourful variety of options. I once stayed with a journalist in Mumbai in India who had a remarkable variety of gods in his flat. There were pictures of many Hindu deities but Jesus and Mary were there as well. But gods come in other subtle forms. A person’s family or their job, house, bank balance, hobby or sport can be their god. All of those things are good in themselves but when they are turned into gods they take on a completely different and potentially destructive significance. King David was well aware of the wide range of gods that he could worship but he concluded that the God of Israel was incomparably great. He alone was worthy of David’s commitment and devotion.

The prophets spent a lot of time mocking the false gods of their time. Isaiah mocked the wood carver who carefully worked with his chisel and plane to carve a human figure. He then created a little shrine out of it and fell down in worship before it crying, “Rescue me! You are my god.” But he took another part of the wood to make a fire with which he warmed himself and baked bread. Isaiah laughed at the sheer absurdity of this and called the wood carver a “poor, deluded fool.” (Isaiah 44.20) Tough talk, but Isaiah knew that worshipping the one true God was something of infinite importance.

David’s and Isaiah’s straightforward approaches to false gods needs to challenge our own attitudes. Like them we would let other people down if we didn’t make it clear that any other god will be a complete disappointment. They may give encouragement for a while but ultimately, they are bound to let us down. Only the one true God will be faithful to us for time and eternity. Only he is worthy of our commitment and devotion.


What are the most common gods in our society?


Lord God, I commit my whole self to you as the one true God. Help me to be faithful to you and to take every opportunity to speak to others about your incomparable greatness. Amen

Photo – Parish church, Ballycastle