Friday, February 27, 2015

thunder and fire on the mountain

The Lord came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain. And the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.
Exodus 19:20

When Moses ascended Sinai at the giving of the Law, the mountain was burning. It was wrapped in smoke because the holy fire of God burned upon it (Exodus 19:18). There was thunder, lightning, and an occasional earthquake. All in all, very descriptive of Sinai like a volcano. Except this was a supernatural event and not an eruption. God was moving on the mountain to bring His covenant to His people through Moses.

The burning mountain was a visible reminder and a warning to the people of Israel of the seriousness of entering into a relationship with a Holy God. They had seen the fire of God by night in their encampment. They knew the ascending smoke that affirmed God's presence among them every day. But now that the fire and smoke consumed a mountain as God's voice thundered to Moses, everything was shaken up. And they saw God converse with Moses as their leader talked to God and thunder shook the mountain in reply.

The drama of the Law as it is given in Exodus grabs my attention. It arrests me to consider the power of the Word of the Lord. The Law stands forever. And it is as fearful and powerful as an eruption. It is a pyroclastic flow of revelation. It is as disturbing and as disruptive to my stability as an earthquake. It is as loud as thunder to my empty soul.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

One Death

And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.
Mark 15:37-38

One death accomplished what my life never would
peace with God
judgment's justice due
satisfaction in sacrifice
all in that moment as Jesus died nailed to the cold wood

One death and the veil was torn no more divided
access to the Father
no priest required
full relationship offered
because the Son made the way to the Father and with us sided

One death brought forgiveness and the offer of life
my Savior
my Redeemer
my Great High Priest
and death is no longer forever, sin's dominion no longer strife

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

a testimony of ministry

For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you.
2 Corinthians 1:12

Paul's description of his ministry lifestyle is a fitting framework that I hope to emulate in my own life. I have been serving in ministry of one kind or another as my life's calling for twenty-seven years now. I know no other life. But in many ways I am challenged to keep Paul's description of ministry as my goal in whatever time I have left by the grace of God.

Paul first gauged his behavior by the way the world saw him. He behaved as a Christian servant first in the world, and then to the church. That is why the gospel was always ready on his lips. I do well to remember this since I often reverse the order, living in the church almost exclusively, then "in the world". Paul's call to be on mission with the gospel was to the world, and as he put it "supremely so" to the church.

There are four components to his testimony of ministry. First, he lived with simplicity. A life complicated by the stuff of this world would have hampered the call to go forward where the gospel had not been preached. Everywhere Paul lived, including Corinth, he lived simply so that Christ was his most valued possession. This makes sense because pioneers live uncluttered lives. Secondly, Paul lived with godly sincerity. You saw what you got with Paul. He was the example of real Christian commitment. He could humbly and confidently make disciples with the simple admonition: imitate me as I imitate Christ.

Paul also refused to identify with worldly wisdom. And finally, the gospel as revealed in the magnificent grace of God was his entire worldview. He was well versed in the thinking of his culture. He could masterfully debate with the most noted intellectuals with fervor and logic. He could also sit and make tents, conversing with people in the common marketplace through daily activity. The gospel gave him the wisdom to live in the world. And it created a ministry platform for Paul's life... as it does for me today.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

They speak visions of their own minds.

Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. They say continually to those who despise the word of the Lord, 'It shall be well with you’; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, 'No disaster shall come upon you.’”
Jeremiah 23:16-17

An overwhelmingly enthusiastic optimism that ignores the Word of the Lord is the mark of a false prophet. They lying false prophet, smiling and telling you that your life will be well and blessings are yours for the taking right now is denounced by God. What's worse, those who are attracted to this false optimism have abandoned the entire counsel of God to follow a glittering lie.

The problem is that the false optimism does not speak the truth completely. It might actually have little snippets of the truth mixed with the error, but it draws the focus away from God, and onto human beings. Yes, it is true that God loves us and wants to work in our lives. But we are born sinners. Grace means that we don't deserve the good news of the gospel. We have to accept the bad news along with the good news. Awareness of sin must leave us desperately wanting to repent as the Word of God confronts all our fallen faults. Only then can real hope, change, and joy be found in repenting and believing the good news.

I wish that God only had to take Judah to task for this in the Old Testament and that the church was never guilty of embracing false teaching. Just before the fall of Jerusalem, false prophets undermined Jeremiah's message with their overwhelming and wildly acclaimed prosperity theology optimism. And Christians in my day, in my culture, seeking distraction from the hard work of incarnating the gospel in a pagan society, soak up the same lame saccharine drivel. It comes from the pastor of the largest congregation in America located in Houston, Texas. From a former NBA stadium, a smiling, smarmy, well-coiffed and immaculately tailored salesman, that frankly gives me a case of the willies, a man who never went to seminary and proudly admits it, who owns up to not be well versed in any Bible doctrine in national television interviews, feeds self-help sugary sermons of health and wealth nonsense to millions of adoring fans who buy his books that always have his smiling face on the cover. What tastes so good to them is soul poison. Let the Osteens and the Oprahs of this world have their adoring soul zombie army. Their message is doomed when eternity looms. Those who stubbornly follow their own hearts will find out the deception much too late. I'm afraid though that in the last day some will hear Jesus say, "I never knew you". That is the ultimate tragedy of false teaching.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Analyzing suffering is not a good idea.

Hear my words, you wise men,
and give ear to me, you who know;
for the ear tests words
as the palate tastes food.
Job 34:2-3

Elihu invites critical examination of his "advice" to Job. As the youngest of Job's entourage of friends, he respectfully watches a string of debates on suffering and sin from Job's other counselors. When he can stand no more he rather impetuously steps in with his thoughts on Job's trials. He takes a different approach, but in the end accuses Job of deserving his suffering due to direct disobedience to God. He concludes the same thing as all the others.

I have noticed over the last 15 years or so a growing trend among some Bible teachers to proclaim that Elihu was right when all the others were wrong. It is a teaching based on silence... never a good place to argue theology strongly. Of all Job's friends, only Elihu is never reprimanded by God. Job is told to intercede for the others, but Elihu's name is not on God's list. This leads some to conclude that God thus sides with Elihu's take on Job's sufferings. But to say this is to make God a liar. Elihu concluded exactly the same things as all Job's counselors:
1) Job suffered publicly for all to see as an example of God's justice (Job 34:26).
2) Job suffered because he turned away from God's ways (Job 34:27).
3) Job suffered because he somehow abused or deliberately neglected helping the poor and needy around him (Job 34:28).

Of course, we know from the prologue of the book that all three conclusions are wrong. If God tacitly approved of Elihu, God could contradict Himself, That cannot happen since God is truth. So let God be true and every man a liar. Elihu is wrong about God and about Job. Sometimes good people suffer not because of sin, but so that the greatness of God might be known in their weaknesses. And for that reason debating suffering is one of the most pointless of spiritual exercises.

Friday, February 20, 2015

To You, O God

Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and perform your vows to the Most High,
and call upon me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.
Psalm 50:14-15

To You, O God, I give thanks
for all I have and all I am
have come from Your providing hand
To You, O God, I give thanks

To You, O God, I give my life
for serving You is worth the price
I yield myself a living sacrifice
To You, O God, I give my life

To You, O God, I make my vows
I promise to serve and give You what I have
always first with what I do and plan
To You, O God, I make my vows

To You, O God, I cry out
in my day of trouble You are near
and my pleas and pains I know You hear
To You, O God, I cry out

You, O God, deliver me
from sins and troubles You set me free
so that Your strength will be known in me
You, O God, deliver me

To You, O God, I give praise and glory
You are always worthy of songs of praise
for Your mercies carry me through my days
To You, O God, I give praise and glory

Thursday, February 19, 2015

from crisis to kingdom

And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah.
2 Samuel 2:4a

David's royal career began with a small endeavor. The tribe of Judah, Just one clan in Israel, acknowledged him as king after Saul's disastrous death in battle. The rest of the nation, once so enamored of David that they praised his exploits in song, were divided and in shock. David has his work cut out for him. He is tasked to "earn" the crown by being a uniter of Israel.

This is not just a political division over ideologies. This divided nation is scattered in a deeply personal way. Even though all of Israel shared one ethnic and religious identity under the worship of Yahweh, the tribalism of the Book of Judges is still a strong undercurrent socially. Most Israelites identify with tribe and family more than with any other affiliation. David must lead in such a way as to overcome this fragmentation, unite the nation, and fulfill God's call upon him. After all, God anointed David to be king over all of Israel while he was still just a shepherd boy. God would use David to unite and strength the nation.

That's David's comfort... God will use David. He will strengthen David's kingdom. It began with just one tribe. It will end in Israel securing new borders, David building Jerusalem into a world class city, and a kingdom being built from the current crisis. God is very adept at turning a crisis into a kingdom. David's life is testament to God's great work. And we can trust that God's power is still as potent today. There is no division that God cannot heal. There is no person that He cannot redeem. There is no trial that He cannot resolve. There is no chaos that God's peace cannot contain.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

On the other side of the sea

You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed;
you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode.
Exodus 15:13

This poetry of praise, written by Moses, was part of a massive worship celebration on the other side of the Red Sea. Israel passed across the sea on dry land as God walled up the waters around them. And then in one final act of deliverance, God brought that same sea down upon the pursuing Egyptian army. And in one very compelling momentous act, Israel was delivered from her bondage. Never again would they be slaves in Egypt. They stood on the seashore a redeemed people. And they erupted into praise.

This heartfelt praise at God's amazing deliverance was so profound that echoes of it can still be heard in every Jewish Passover. And it flows into the Christian observance of the Lord's Table. God has redeemed His people. It is the thing we should always find as our soul's delight. Redemption is our identity.

I stand on the other side of the sea. I am one of your redeemed children, singing of Your great love in saving me. The sea did not swallow me. My slave master did not capture me. You saved me from my servitude to sin and now I am Christ's slave in awe of the love of my new Master. And as I sing of my Redeemer and His precious love for me, I stand with all those whom You have saved from the perils of our past bondage. Your mercies and love fill me with praise.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Christianity is a hated faith

And you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
Mark 13:13

When we want to make Christianity palatable to the world, we are working against Jesus' own words. It will fail. He warned His disciples that the gospel, though it will be believed on in the world by God's elect, will be hated by the world system. Christians will never really be popular. They should not expect to be so. In fact, if all the world thinks you are fine, you are probably far from the gospel.

Christians are hated because Jesus is hated. He is the light and the darkness does not comprehend Him. He came to His own and they rejected Him. Even in His own hometown among His own family He was not welcomed. They eventually turned against Him. The vast crowds that He fed, that marveled at His teaching, would one day rise up, incited by Pharisaical hatred and persecutory power, and scream for His execution with the cry of "Crucify Him!"

I can't try to make that reality cool. I can't interview with Oprah on Valentine's Day and accept immorality as love, encouraging the church to do the same. I can't hob-knob with societal elite to raise political capital so that worldly power might be mine. That is not the way of the cross. Criminals going to execution are humble and hated. The world spit on my Master as He carried His cross. They'll do the same or worse to me.

So when I see masked terrorists execute Christians for their trust in a Savior, I should not be surprised. Those believers endured faithfully to the end. And for His name's sake they died. Evil people hate Jesus. They refuse to believe. And in their sin, they sin against Him. But for even that sin, Jesus willingly died.

Monday, February 16, 2015

hope despite hopelessness

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:58

I have always tended to view this verse in isolation, probably due to the fact that I treated it like an AWANA memory verse... just another topical verse to memorize on my way to another pin on the uniform of the compliant Christian child. But in context, the impact of this exhortation is jolting me this morning like a cardiac shock paddle. This is Paul's encouragement based on his defense of the doctrine of the resurrection. It is based upon the firm conviction that Jesus was raised from the dead, and that Jesus will raise from death all who have believed and trusted in the gospel.

The reason I know that I am loved is because God loved me through His Son and by Jesus' death and resurrection that love has secured me from my worst of life's worries... sin and death. Really, any anxiety I may have is linked to one of those two issues. The world is a bad place many times, corrupted by sin, magnified by human population, and personally experienced every morning by reading my news feed. Death is the destiny of us all. But in Christ, resurrection hope turns the Christian away from death's despair. And that is why I am steadfast and unmovable. Death is conquered. There is nothing else to fear. Christ has taken away the sting of death by His resurrection from the dead, just as sin no longer rules over us by His work on the cross.

And in that firm belief, I can let my life serve that wonderful truth in any way God wills it. I can know that my Redeemer lives, and work at making Him known. And by serving others, no fear of death... no domination by sin... no worries about my impact will mark me. My life matters because Jesus gave Himself for me. And my work in making that truth known is not a waste. Yes, death still exists until such a day as God remakes the universe anew. But death has no hold on Jesus or on me. And that is how I can face a world often falling into ruin because death reigns over those who do not know the gospel. It has no power whatsoever over Jesus. And it has no control over me.

Friday, February 13, 2015

The sad aftermath of abandoning God

But my people have forgotten me;
they make offerings to false gods;
they made them stumble in their ways,
in the ancient roads,
and to walk into side roads,
not the highway,
making their land a horror,
a thing to be hissed at forever.
Everyone who passes by it is horrified
and shakes his head.
Jeremiah 18:15-16

This is God's assessment of human life without Him. Israel had turned from the worship of Yahweh. They abandoned God to worship false gods. They still worshiped. They just set their hearts on other gods. But the results were tragic. The idols they craved did not satisfy them. They stumbled. They walked a much harder path in their idolatry than God ever had for them in the Law. Working against God is hard... not easy. It is a burden, not a freedom.

And as Jerusalem fell under the punishing curse of the Law for this abandonment of God, all those who once enticed Israel into idolatry now watched the horror of societal collapse and the devastation that took effect. Their destruction was complete.

This warning stands throughout scripture. Abandon God and you abandon hope. Worship idols and find disillusionment. There is ample evidence of this in scripture and in history.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

confidence to approach God

I would give him an account of all my steps;
like a prince I would approach him.
Job 31:37

Integrity is a confidence builder. When you can approach God in your integrity, you can confidently trust in His gracious acceptance. In Job's final speech, he defends his integrity. He knows that he is born a sinner. But he also knows by God's mercy, Job has found the grace to obey God. He has rejected a life defined by his sin. He has repented of lust, materialism, selfishness, and pleasure seeking in the stuff of this life. He honestly has sought to follow God all the days of his life. He can in clean conscience approach God to give an account of every step he has ever taken.

I have heard some people take Job to task for this. They accuse him of self-righteousness. But if that were the case, wouldn't God point this out in His final monologue to Job that concludes the book? No, Job is not self-righteous. Job's error was not being in awe of God quite enough, which is why God simply confronts Job with His power over creation and Job's complete human frailty. Job's only response to God coming to him is to worship and admit the powerful, sovereign greatness of a glorious God. In no way does Job need to repent of some secret sin that was the root of all his suffering.

In that sense Job is instructive to us. He is a more righteous man than I am at the moment. I can't make Job's claims with quite the same confidence. I struggle mightily to do the simplest of righteous deeds. But I do believe God sees me through the righteousness of His Son. Christ Jesus' blood pleads for me so that my Lord's innocent steps now mark my path and lead me to the Father. And with that mercy always before me, I can confidently approach the Father, following in my Savior's own footsteps.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

calm or chaos?

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah
Psalm 46:1-3

The poetry describing the emotional chaos of life experiences is spot on. There are seasons when life feels totally uncertain. The ground seems unstable. Everything that once was certain feels unsure. The earth we stand upon shakes or falls away unexpectedly like a crumbling river bank at a raging flood stage. An angry, foaming torrent seems to swirl all around us as we feel ourselves going under in the cold water. Fear, panic, and despair are the marks of our souls.

But this psalm reminds us we can find a calm center in the chaos. God is a refuge and strength. He is there to help us in our days of trouble. The mountains may move, but God is our security. He is present, just a prayer away. And that stabilizing truth can change us. He can still the thrashing waves with His command: "Peace! Be still!" He can place us back on solid ground beside Him.

I am in the midst of a tumultuous season of tears. Change is all I see. What I once took for granted is falling away. Sandwiched as I am now in middle age responsibilities over which I have no control, I hurt to see a generation older than I am suffering physically. I hurt to see the generation below me in confusion and pain as God's wisdom is often unheeded. And I look into my own heart and feel for the pain of sin's consequences personally and as I bear burdens of other hurting people in the Body of Christ. The river banks are falling into the raging flood. I can't escape getting carried away in the drowning swell.

Yet I see Jesus, the calm Savior Who once walked across the stormy sea to His fearful followers, and somehow I know by faith that He is still here to bring me peace. He did not calm the storm when He beckoned for Peter to join Him on the waves. And He also bids me come to join Him in the storm. That is why I must trust Him. If I look at the waves, I'm sunk. I cannot calm the storm nor stand on crashing waves. But Jesus can.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Broken Warrior / Faithful God

And David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I pursue after this band? Shall I overtake them?” He answered him, “Pursue, for you shall surely overtake and shall surely rescue.”
1 Samuel 30:8

When a soldier loses in battle
his hope faded
his outlook jaded
assessing the cost in life
at the end of the strife
he is wounded and broken

Knowing such a loss personally
amplified with the capture of family
tears of sorrow and anger
despite the perilous danger
courage resurfaced anew
a resolve to lead a rescue

A broken warrior turns to his faithful God.

God leads the warrior to pursue
the heartless enemy
with a holy fury
trusting God for salvation
deliverance comes to the nation
a broken general presses the rescue

And overtaking the raiders
families are reunited
the battle is one sided
immediate joy in victory
erases the tears of previous defeat
as a faithful God restores

A broken warrior is led by his faithful God.

Monday, February 9, 2015

sacrifice, obedience, & deliverance

Then the people of Israel went and did so; as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.
Exodus 12:28

This obedience was to the instructions that the Lord gave Israel in Egypt in the First Passover. They were more than eager to obey this as a nation. They had just seen God's miraculous preservation of them through the ordeals that befell Egypt in the plagues. They had seen the painful consequences as God tried to move a hard-hearted Pharaoh through non-lethal means. But as Egypt's leaders kept resisting the supernatural power of God, the resistance led to this final plague. What blood and hail, bugs of various kinds, frogs, boils, disease, loss of crops and livestock failed to convince, the death of countless firstborn males would do. As Israel was spared all the effects of each plague, they now had to obey God through the Passover sacrifice and prepare for the Exodus in order to be spared the last one. And they did so. In one night they left Egypt behind them by God's supernatural deliverance.

The only plague that tested Israel's obedience was this last one. And in that obedience God's grace was shown to His people, even as His fiercest judgment came to the Egyptians. And in the Passover a new relationship with God began to unfold for Israel, a relationship borne out in a practice still within Judaism to this very day. A theology of deliverance emerged from these events that prepared the way for Jesus as Savior for the world.

O God of deliverance,
How I need to always know You in this way. And just as You delivered Israel though a perfect lamb's blood, so my soul is delivered by the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world. Keep me from the bondage of my sin and pass over me by Jesus' blood applied to my door.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, February 5, 2015

the Scriptures and the power of God

Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God?"
Mark 12:24

The Sadducees were wrong for at least two reasons. Their unbelief led them to approach scripture purely academically. Like present day liberal theologians, they coldly approached the text only with skepticism, quick to explain away anything miraculous. As a result, they dismissed most of their bible. The prophets were spurious and they took a cafeteria approach to the Law and History books, loving the legal aspects but rejecting anything supernatural. Jesus says that a person cannot really know scripture if they dismiss what it says.

This humanistic approach that placed the human mind above the scriptures naturally led them to a powerless theology. When they came to Jesus to question Him on the resurrection (a doctrine they rejected), they thought they had Him stumped with a massive hypothetical conundrum. But Jesus refused to take their illogical question bait, instead going to one of the foundational phrases of the Pentateuch - the one bit of scripture they prided themselves as being expert in understanding. At the burning bush God told Moses, "I am (present tense) the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob", indicating that the patriarchs existed at the time of the meeting with Moses. God is the God of the living. The careful, simple reading of the text and its grammar confirmed this.

Jesus thus affirms an essential component of Christian faith: the centrality of the Holy Scriptures for knowing God. To know God's power and person, we must know the bible. In the scriptures we have life revealed for us. We have insight into this present life and living hope beyond it. We can know God and God's power in its pages. And my experience is that it translates very well into my own moments. The scriptures are not "supernatural" but the God Who is shown to me in them most certainly is. And the faith that springs out of the Word of God daily brings me to know His presence, to trust His person, and to be affected and changed by His power. I always want to know the Scriptures and the power of God!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

4 results of love

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1 Corinthians 13:7

There are four ways in which love shows itself in the life of the believer. If I love God, love my brothers and sisters in Christ, and love my neighbor as myself, theses four results will be seen. They will bring us to an understanding of our Father's love for us.

First, love bears all things. It is patient (1 Corinthians 13:4) and thus can wait situations out. It can put up with not being loved back. God loved a world not yet redeemed by His Son when He sent Jesus to live and die here. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. He patiently bore all things for us, His enemies, teaching us to love our enemies with the love only the Father could give to us.

Secondly, love believes all things. This is not gullibility neither is it a lack of discernment. Rather, it is the capacity to trust God in our love for other people. It helps us love our enemies for whom Jesus died, believing the gospel is for them. It believes God loves us, even when our circumstances are not to our liking. Love believes God's promises even as we patiently wait for most of them by faith. Faith and love work together.

Thirdly, love hopes all things. We have an eternal perspective because Christ's love saves us. We can confidently trust in love, hoping for God's glory (which is always the best outcome) to be known in us and in our circumstances. We can look at the promises of God and know through the hope His love brings that we all who have trusted Christ will find His loving arms in eternal fellowship with the Father.

And all this helps us finally to see that love endures all things. True love endures. This kind of love builds a Christian marriage that weathers both times of prosperity and darker seasons of pain. It can suffer loss and stay real love. It can even be rejected by those we love and find comfort in the greater love of God in Christ. God's love never fails us and by it we love, hope, believe, bear and endure all that we face. And love remains strong.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, February 2, 2015

in the rubble of our idols

O Lord, my strength and my stronghold,
my refuge in the day of trouble,
to you shall the nations come
from the ends of the earth and say:
“Our fathers have inherited nothing but lies,
worthless things in which there is no profit.
Can man make for himself gods?
Such are not gods!”
Jeremiah 16:19-20

People worship. We always worship. If we don't worship God, we will worship a god. We will look to a false god, or a thing, or a person for all our comfort and satisfaction in life. We will attempt to express our need to worship in a false way. And we will be disappointed when we are deceived by those delusions that are the reality of idolatry.

Part of the judgment of our idolatry is the letdown that false worship brings. Sometimes it is that disappointment that leads us back to God. Sometimes it is the depression that accompanies the lies of our idolatry. Other times God may lead us to experience utter desolation to bring us to the end of our idols. Either way, we see the lies in the false worship and hold nothing in our hands or hearts when it all falls apart. The experience of idolatry leaves us nothing personally meaningful. We make for ourselves gods that are not gods and find them to be powerless. Not only are they not gods, but they are less than we are because we made them.

Our hands build idols that our hearts ascribe worth to, only to find the failure of false worship. That is the vicious result that will follow us when we turn from God. And the only good thing about it is that in the inevitable crash of falling idols, the still small voice of God can call us out of the rubble and back to Him. It is a good thing that false worship does not fulfill. It can prod the heart back to the mercies and love of God.