There Is No Other
Every day, as dawn approaches, swelling crowds make their way to the banks of the Ganges in India to worship the river and the rising sun. Many scatter the ashes of loved ones on the water in the hope of securing their eternal bliss. Representative of the millions of Hindus in India, these men and women believe that “god” is in everything.
While the sights and sounds of such worship may seem far removed from many of us, in another sense, we are much closer to this than we’re prepared to acknowledge.
Look around at our own culture and you’ll notice that idolatry and its subtleties are just as prevalent as ever. It is found in the notion that what you believe does not matter, since the great religions of the world “agree on the essentials.” Corrupted and diluted varieties of Christianity are abundant, for we are very good at worshiping a “God” we have made up, who just happens to fit with our desires and agree with our choices. And superficial forms of panentheism can be discovered in upscale spas and yoga classes, for we are likewise very good at treating ourselves and our bodies as gods.
In fact, we have hundreds of substitute gods—idols that promise us freedom but, in reality, demean and enslave. Worship sex and it will corrode your ability to love or be loved. Worship alcohol and it will ensnare you. Worship money and it will consume you. Worship your family and you (or they) will collapse under the burden of unfulfilled expectations. Worship any substitute god and you will find that it cannot satisfy.
If we become increasingly entangled with idols, it often accompanies a growing loss of confidence in the Bible as the unerring word of God. When this happens, there’s no longer any place for a straightforward declaration of the exclusive claims of Jesus of Nazareth as the second Person of the Trinity, Creator of the universe, resurrected Lord, ascended King, and—someday—returning Christ. So it is an act of grace—albeit an unsettling one—that in His word God says, I’m commanding you, all people everywhere, to repent, to turn from your little idols, and to worship Me, the Creator, the Sustainer, the Ruler, the Father, the Judge (see Acts 17:30).
What is the antidote to your heart’s continual desire to worship idols, which offend the Lord and cannot save? Simply this: “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.” Identify the idols you are prone to worship and set them alongside the Creator and Sustainer of all things. He is God, and they are not. He can save, and they cannot. Turn once more from them, and to Him.
18For thus says the Lord,
who created the heavens
(he is God!),
who formed the earth and made it
(he established it;
he did not create it empty,
he formed it to be inhabited!):
“I am the Lord, and there is no other.
19I did not speak in secret,
in a land of darkness;
I did not say to the offspring of Jacob,
‘Seek me in vain.’3
I the Lord speak the truth;
I declare what is right.
20“Assemble yourselves and come;
draw near together,
you survivors of the nations!
They have no knowledge
who carry about their wooden idols,
and keep on praying to a god
that cannot save.
21Declare and present your case;
let them take counsel together!
Who told this long ago?
Who declared it of old?
Was it not I, the Lord?
And there is no other god besides me,
a righteous God and a Savior;
there is none besides me.
22“Turn to me and be saved,
all the ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other.
23By myself I have sworn;
from my mouth has gone out in righteousness
a word that shall not return:
‘To me every knee shall bow,
every tongue shall swear allegiance.’4
24“Only in the Lord, it shall be said of me,
are righteousness and strength;
to him shall come and be ashamed
all who were incensed against him.
25In the Lord all the offspring of Israel
shall be justified and shall glory.”
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