How foolish are those who manufacture idols.
These prized objects are really worthless.
The people who worship idols don’t know this,
so they are all put to shame.
Who but a fool would make his own god—
an idol that cannot help him one bit? (NLT)
Those ancient people who made gods out of wood and stone might cause us to shake our heads in disbelief at their foolish superstitions. As if some inanimate object can do anyone any good. Their distorted deities are rightly seen as offensive to the one true God who was far from being a man-made object.
But in our day we still have a problem with our imaginings of God. We don’t generally worship statues of wood or stone, but we can still be worshiping an unreal God.
We may get such unreal ideas from some unbalanced teaching which highlights the wrath of God without putting it into the context of his mercy. We may pick and choose bits of the Bible that reinforce our idea of God: the vengeful one who hurls thunderbolts at our sinful ways, or perhaps the kind old grandfather who indulges all our own sins with a wink and a nod.
And our views of God can be powerfully shaped by our early childhood. Children can view God as they viewed their parents as godlike figures in their lives. So children can grow up seeing God as a harsh disciplinarian, or a distant influence, or one who indulges their every wish and request.
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All such views need correction over time. And this involves deep and consistent focus on Jesus, the one who spells out the nature of God in a way his created humans can grasp. How we think of and how we imagine God shapes our faith and our lives. False imaginings are as dangerous and offensive as bits of wood and stone.