about that time there arose no little disturbance concerning the way. for a man named demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of artemis, brought no little business to the craftsmen. these he gathered together, with the workmen in similar trades, and said, “men, you know that from this business we have our wealth. and you see and hear that not only in ephesus but in almost all of asia this paul has persuaded and turned away a great many people, saying that gods made with hands are not gods. and there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess artemis may be counted as nothing, and that she may even be deposed from her magnificence, she whom all Asia and the world worship.” [acts 19:23-27]


gods made with hands are not gods


o Lord show us today

in this moment with you

where we have made a god, an idol

of something that is not you – the God above all gods.


may the word read your heart this morning. may the Spirit speak. may he convict of sin and righteousness. and, may he pour grace over you through Jesus.


why should the nations say, “where is their God?” our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. they have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see. they have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell. they have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; and they do not make a sound in their throat. those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them. [psalm 115:2-8]


the carpenter stretches a line; he marks it out with a pencil. he shapes it with planes and marks it with a compass. he shapes it into the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, to dwell in a house. he cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. he plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. then it becomes fuel for a man. he takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. half of it he burns in the fire. over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. also he warms himself and says, “aha, i am warm, i have seen the fire!” and the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. he prays to it and says, “deliver me, for you are my god!” they know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand.

no one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, “half of it i burned in the fire; i also baked bread on its coals; i roasted meat and have eaten. and shall i make the rest of it an abomination? shall i fall down before a block of wood?” he feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, “is there not a lie in my right hand?” [isaiah 44:13-20]


“their idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field, and they cannot speak; they have to be carried, for they cannot walk. do not be afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, neither is it in them to do good.” there is none like you, o LORD; you are great, and your name is great in might. [jeremiah 10:5-6]


who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? and who shall stand in his holy place? he who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false. [psalm 24:3–4]


i hate those who pay regard to worthless idols, but I trust in the Lord. [psalm 31:6]


for all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the Lord made the heavens. [psalm 96:5]


all worshipers of images are put to shame, who make their boast in worthless idols; [psalm 97:7]


turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways. [psalm 119:37]



~ john ryan