Friday, July 15, 2011

Name above all Names.

I have been thinking about this blog post for some time, so let's see how it rolls off the keyboard.  What motivated me to write it was following a car home today that had a bumper sticker with the word "God" and the O was the peace symbol.  Now some get bent out of shape by these things or the whole "Coexist" campaign...but it doesn't really bother me.  It did make me want to ask the person, "Who do you think God is?"

Think about the first of the Ten Commandments - "You shall have no other gods before me."  Christopher J.H. Wright has a great chapter on this in his book The Mission of God if you crave some scholarly work on this topic.  I won't get nearly that deep.

However, consider what the "One True God" is saying in that commandment.  All throughout God's revelation to us He reveals Himself as the One True God - however the world at that time was extremely polytheistic and even Israel fell victim to polytheistic thinking and God punished them for it.  The nations that surrounded Israel all had their own gods, often called upon to bring them victory on the battle field.  So many of the stories in the O.T. are recounts of God establishing His position as One True God - by demonstrating His power to those that would hold other gods or claim that their gods would bring them victory over Israel on the battlefield.

Are these other "gods" real or perceived?  Is a "god" I created a real god?  We certainly know that if I allow things to take preeminence in my life they are, for all intents and purposes, a god.  If I craft a golden calf and ascribe worth to it and worship it - it is a god to me regardless of the fact that it has been fashioned by my own hand.  2 Kings 19:18 says:  They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by men's hands.

And so today we have a more subtle form of polytheism.  Throughout the Biblical narrative these other gods had names such as Baal, Molech, etc., but today we use the term "god" to denote some generic spirituality.  Your god and my god are all equal, because after all we can't actually "know" god/God.

The 'god' that we worship can be anything we want to make it - fashioned by our own intellect or reason.  We wouldn't carve a god out of wood or stone and worship it, but we will fashion a god that makes us feel good about ourselves, our world, our existence.  Is that really any different?  Haven't we just become another polytheistic culture?

God has a name and it is Jesus.  Notice how people will use the word 'god' but they are very uncomfortable talking about Jesus?  Hmmm...maybe that should be a clue to us.

Jesus, name above all names,
Beautiful Saviour, glorious Lord;
Emmanuel, God is with us,
Blessed Redeemer, Living Word.

The One True God has revealed Himself once and finally in the person of Jesus.  Now you get to choose whether to follow Him or a god of your own making.