Reading through the Psalms gives us a clear and wonderful portrait of the LORD, the God of the Judeo-Christian faith. It is a breath of fresh air. There is a great gulf that exists between Yahweh, the God of Abraham, and the various deities of Greek, Roman and Egyptian mythology. These latter deities are often pictured as fickle, envious and vindictive in their dealings with each other and humanity. Human beings are never sure where they stand in relation to them and often fear their capriciousness.
We shouldn’t be surprised that the deities of these pagan religions often resemble humanity in their sinfulness. The biblical assessment is that these ‘gods’ are a product of fallen human imagination. In Psalm 135:15,18 we read these words which also appear in other Psalms: “The idols of the nations are silver and gold, made by the hands of men. Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.” The ‘gods’ of pagan religion exhibit debased behavior because they are created by human beings who are sinful.
Instead of worshiping the true and living God, and allowing Him to transform us into His image, we create a ‘god’ in our fallen image and worship it. In effect, we worship ourselves. This is why idolatry is so repulsive to the Jew and to the Christian, and why it is so strongly censured by Yahweh’s prophets.
In contrast to these false pictures of God, the Psalms offer a true portrait of the true and living God. I will look at Psalm 145 which paints an accurate picture of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. After reading David’s portrait of God, one wonders at the perversity of the human heart which often desires to make his own idol that cannot even begin to compare with Yahweh.
In Psalm 145, David describes the LORD as One who is mighty and whose greatness no human being cannot completely fathom (verses 3&4). He is glorious in majesty, full of goodness, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love (verses 7-9). The LORD reveals His righteousness by delivering His people from their trials and tribulations as they cry out to Him. He is faithful to His promises and can be relied on fully. He is worthy of our trust and worship (verses 10-19).
The God revealed in David’s Psalm when compared to the ‘gods’ of pagan religion is like the difference of night and day. No wonder the Book of Psalms have been used by God’s people for over 3000 years to connect us to the LORD. As God’s faithful ones have lifted their hearts up to Him through the Psalms, the LORD has lifted them up from the miry mud of everyday challenges and He has set their feet in a spacious place.
False gods of gold and silver can’t lift anyone up, they can only bring us down further in darkness. They can’t even lift themselves up, instead, they need to be lifted by human beings and carried around on their shoulders. Let us lift up our hearts to the true and living God revealed in the Judeo-Christian scriptures and in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In Christ’s love and service, Pastor John