Can You Believe It?

Deuteronomy 4:28 New Living Translation (NLV)                                                                                                                        “There, in a foreign land, you will worship idols made from wood and stone–gods that neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell.”

The Bible is replete with examples of people who worshiped false gods over centuries of time.  The ancients chose man-made idols fashioned out of wood and stone and often overlaid with gold and silver over God.  They even ritualistically sacrificed their own children to them!  

When reading about such false gods today, we shake our heads in complete disbelief.  We attribute behaviors of two to three thousand years ago to people being primitive,  uncivilized, ignorant, etc.  

Let me share something that you may find surprising.  False gods abound today in many parts of the world, and I’m not referring to third world countries, although they have their share of them!  

In Japan one can visit Buddhist temples and find wooden gods like Daibutsu located in Nara’s Todaiji.  Known as Big Buddha, it’s simply a giant wooden god with a head covered in gold.  It’s not simply an ancient attraction.  Worshippers bow before it, burn incense, wail, and leave money.  On New Year’s Day, Daibutsu is visited by over 200,000 people.  Similar examples, albeit on a much smaller scale, exist all over the country.  

In Taiwan I once visited a Confucian temple in Taipei.  The first stop was a cafeteria line selling complete meals to worshipers for giving to one of the dozens of gods, each of whom had its own altar.  They were simple wooden statues–some quite bizarre–and highlighted by materials like silver and semi-precious stones.  One particular altar contained a huge pile of cafeteria trays of food.  I learned that it was the money god.  

Our little town of about 60,000 contains two Islamic mosques and one Hindu temple.  Also, I’m certain one can find a Wiccan clan here as well.  Don’t get me started on false idols–money, prestige, possessions, etc.–that people have today!  

When you think about the majesty and power of God, it’s unfathomable that many people today still worship false gods–just like the ones reported in the Old Testament.  It’s astounding!  It merely reflects the importance of Jesus’s last command before His ascension, when He told us to make disciples.  Think about what you can do to reach others. 

Leave a Reply