They transformed the beauty of His ornaments into pride, and they made the images of their abominations and their detestable things with it; therefore I will make it an abhorrent thing to them.
There is more significance to this verse than initially meets the eye. God’s people have taken the things He has given and begun to take personal pride in the things themselves rather than placing their ‘pride’ in God. They have transformed these items designed for spiritual strength pointing to God into their own self-serving idols. They are worshiping the creation rather than the Creator. The plan rather than the Planner. These gifts of God, designed for the purpose of drawing them closer to Him, are actually serving to put a wall between the people and God because of their own selfish pride.
It is always wrong when the good things God sets in place for our spiritual enlightenment become an end in themselves, serving our own selfish desires. More frightening still is the fact that this mindset evokes the wrath of God toward His own people.
Is it possible that we still do this today? With our church buildings? Worship assemblies? Our ‘church growth strategies’? Maybe even our congregations themselves?
“Personally, I attend the 43rd and StuffedShirt St. Congregation. Our facility is absolutely superb! I just don’t feel fulfilled or edified anywhere else. Reverend Gabbymouth is unmatched in his style and skill. He preaches the truth just as we need to hear it. Plus, the members there are simply a cut above. I should know, I am a charter member.”
What was designed for our edification becomes a stumbling block. What was given to promote unity, togetherness and strength becomes a source of pride that divides God’s people causing strife and anger. It’s simply wrong to take the things God has given us for spiritual strength and turn them into a reason to boast in our own accomplishments. It always has been. It always will be.
Don’t misunderstand me, these gifts are good. We should be connected with a congregation of believers. It’s good to be thankful for a facility. It’s a blessing to have a preacher who brings God’s truth and challenges us with it. A strategy for growth is good. Pictures, crosses, slide shows and banners are useful and can serve a useful purpose; however, all of these must fundamentally serve the purpose of glorifying God and lifting up Christ. They must not become ‘godlike’. Only God is God.
“Let Him who boasts boast in the Lord.” This truth stands the test of time and serves a critical purpose in a believers’ life and in the life of Christ’s church. This truth keeps our focus where it should be. It keep our eyes on “the pioneer and perfecter of our faith” instead of on our own flimsy feelings. It keeps our hearts humble so that Father God can be sincerely lifted up. It keeps the emphasis where the emphasis should be – on Christ.
He did the work. “We are His portion. He is our prize.” (David Crowder)
Thanks be to God!