Psalm 115:4- Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see. They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell… Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them.
Worship involves much more than singing songs or attending church on Sundays. It is the orientation, or “positioning” of an entire life. How we think about our worship is worth a lot of thought, because there is much at stake, even our humanity itself.
Consider the passage above. The psalmist speaks of idols made of silver and gold – man-made objects intended for worship. These idols are lifeless; having eyes but not seeing, ears but not hearing, etc. The writer seems to be stating the obvious – though perhaps not so obvious to some in his culture – but then he drops the bomb: “Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them.”
We become like what we worship. When our focus of worship strays from God, then “having eyes, we do not see…” We become blind, mute, deaf, and the very essence of what it means to be human – as God intended – is gradually diluted until it is snuffed out altogether.
Take pornography for example: Physical / biological attraction is God-given and good, but when this beautiful gift of God becomes twisted into an object of worship itself, something is lost. Instead of two people experiencing love and sexuality by learning and appreciating one another, now that experience is tainted by an outside perspective, and the ability to truly appreciate and enjoy one another becomes inhibited by that perspective. The more one delves into the idol of pornography (visual and emotional / non-visual), the more he / she views the world accordingly. Women become objects of pleasure, and the man is no longer able to appreciate them as God intended. Or for women, men become second-rate, as they can never match up to the portrayal in the romance novel or “chick flick.” Therefore, having eyes, we are no longer able to see, and a part of our humanity is snuffed out and substituted for a lesser version.
Take the alcoholic who is unable to recognize his addiction. As the worship of the drink becomes more and more prominent in his life, he eventually loses everything. With the family now gone, he can finally be left alone with his bottle. In his mind, he feels better off, not even realizing that the life he now lives is utter hell compared to the life he could have experienced. Having ears, he is unable to hear the voices that have been shouting at him to come back, nor is he able to comprehend what he is missing out on.
The same is true when we worship money, and our perception of our time, relationships and other choices becomes defined by that which results in financial gain and loss. We become blind and miss out on much potential.
Or the politician whose lust for power enables her to view human beings as objects to be manipulated for potential gain. What a twist on reality! How tragic to think the possible experiences and relationships that have been lost.
These examples may seem extreme, but the truth is, we all worship something, whether we intend to or not. Even as Christians, our focus of worship can easily be drawn away from our Redeemer, who has bought us back, so that we might be conformed to the image of Christ, who, while fully God, is also fully man – the very image of the kind of restored humanity God intends for us.
When was the last time you thought of worship in these terms? How intentional have you been in your worship? Are there other objects of worship in your life that have unknowingly caused this kind of blindness to the life God intended? Are you able to lay those things down? It is very easy to forget what is at stake. Hold fast to your loving savior, and He will hold fast to you. Without this abiding, we open ourselves up to being severely damaged as human beings. This is why intentional worship is so important. God is able to make all things new. He is a great restorer. Let us never settle for anything less.
The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ps 115:4–6, 8). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.