So-called gods

Acts 7:35-42
I was up at 1am this morning, and couldn’t go back to sleep. When that happens, I don’t fight it. I get up and use the time to read, pray or write. This morning, I read. I’m glad I did.

A question from my reading intrigued me. In 1 Corinthians, one of the issues Paul addresses is if eating food offered to idols is permissible. In Paul’s mind, “there is no God but one” (1 Corinthians 8:4). So, the vainness of idol worship opens up freedom for Christians.

Today, we’re not focusing on food. Instead, my reading prompted me to consider Paul’s idea of God and so-called gods. Again, there is no God but one. And yet there are also so-called gods. Even though they do not compare to God Almighty, they have a way of luring us away from our devotion to God.

The question the writer posed for me this morning was simple. How do not-gods or so-called gods become gods? Remember, according to Paul, they don’t exist. Now, the apostle isn’t confused. He didn’t forget what he said between sentences. He knows us. He knows we are good idol builders.

Of course, idols are nothing new. You don’t make it out of the Old Testament without seeing idol worship. It disfigures faith and devotion. You can’t miss how susceptible the people of God were to remain idol worshipers.

Fast forward now to the book of Acts and remember Stephen’s speech. He offered a summary of what everyone listening already knew. They understood this history of God. Which was good because he wasn’t trying to teach them anything new. These are people who were ready to kill him because of his faith in Jesus. He wanted them to recognize their ancestors’ stubbornness because it was theirs, too.

To Stephen’s audience, Moses was a great faith figure. Pious people would affirm all they read of Moses in scripture. But not even the people who walked with Moses always listened to him. They accused him and turned away. Their inclination was to return to the worship of their idols. Even making new ones out of the gold they brought from Egypt.

Notice God’s response. Stephen said, “But God turned away and handed them over to worship the host of heaven.” In other words, God let the people worship whom or what they wanted. God expects faithful worship. Demands it. But God does not force it.

That’s a truth we need to recognize and reflect on. We are free to worship all the so-called gods we want. We often do, and without even realizing it. But God doesn’t belong in that worship mix. The way to true worship is repentance, turning from the idols we’ve created and adored. So, may the Lord help us keep so-called gods from becoming gods at all in our lives.

Stay blessed…john

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

John Fletcher

Recent Posts


Social Links