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Friday, February 28, 2014
(photo by Marvin Culajay)
"Exchanging The Glory Of The Immortal God"
Note: We've been studying a hard portion from Romans all week and I expected we will have several more messages from this passage next week. These messages, which describe the awful consequences to humanity when the knowledge of God is rejected, will end with a reminder that our gracious God has provided a means of redemption!
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"Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles" (Romans 1:22,23).
Yesterday's message discussed the phrase, "Professing to be wise, they became fools" in the first part of today's Scripture selection. Today we want to consider the word "exchanged" which is used three times in this portion of Romans beginning with this verse to describe the tragic results of rejecting the knowledge of God.
In Romans 1 we see three tragic and deadly exchanges beginning with idolatry:
1) Exchanging the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. (Romans 1:23)
2) Exchanging the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. (Romans 1:25)
3) Exchanging natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. "Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones" (Romans 1:26).
When I study and contemplate this first exchange I wonder if Paul was alluding to other verses in the Bible concerning this exchange of worshiping the one true immortal God for worshiping idols.
"They exchanged their glorious God for an image of a bull, which eats grass" (Psalm 106:20).
"Has a nation ever changed its gods? (Yet they are not gods at all.) But my people have exchanged their glorious God for worthless idols" (Jeremiah 2:11).
"The more priests there were, the more they sinned against Me; they exchanged their glorious God for something disgraceful" (Hosea 4:7).
Bible commentator Harry Ironside writes concerning our daily verse (Romans 1:23), "Observe the downward steps on the toboggan-slide of idolatry: God was first thought of as an idealized (but mortal) man, then likened to the birds that soar into the heavens, next to the beasts that prowl over the earth, and finally to serpents and other detestable creeping things."
Notice that in this exchange man is not progressing but regressing, going backwards, not forward. The direction is not man going up, up up, but it is man going down, down, down. Man is not man getting better and better but getting worse and worse. Man is not man reaching the heights, but is plummeting to the depths. As his concept of deity degenerates, his morals degenerate also. If his god is a reptile, then he feels free to live as he pleases.
Remember too that a worshiper generally considers himself inferior to the object of worship. Created in the image and after the likeness of God, man here takes a place lower than that of serpents! When man worships idols, he worships demons. Paul states clearly that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice to idols they sacrifice to demons and not to God.
This section of Romans is essential to understanding the depraved human condition but let us end on a victorious note. God has provided a divine Redeemer!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, those who sacrifice their time, affections, and finances to idols are doing so at their own peril. We want to offer our lives as living sacrifices, making them holy and acceptable to You. When we exchange that which is best from You for that which is appealing from the devil we regress. We fall back rather than move forward. We want to be led of Your Spirit step by step, day by day, moment by moment. Whenever we're tempted to compromise remind us of the tragic exchange that will result and the awful consequences that follow. We want to stay on the straight and narrow, not going one step off the right way. Help us to do so, in the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
One of the reasons we enjoy large local exhibitions like the home show is that we inevitably see some of the many friends we've met since we moved to this area 13 years ago along with readers in this series. John Bucher is a long time reader who has a wonderful bread making ministry as a means of reaching out to others. He has been making bread for others for some thirty years and makes 36 loaves a week. That comes up to some 47,000 loaves of bread!!! We can testify that it is delicious as he has shared with us in the past. He recognized us from a distance from our height difference - Stephen, the higher, and Brooksyne, the lower as he put it (we're about 12" difference).
One of the blessings in our chaplaincy is meeting people from all over the world. Dennis (left) and Alex work at Val-Co, a company that makes equipment for the livestock feeding industry. Both are immigrants, Dennis from Cuba and Alex from Puerto Rico who have become friends working together. It's a joy to encourage these young men.
Cody and Tim work at White Oak Display, a company that makes point of sale displays for the retail industry. Most of our readers have probably seen a a display made by this company since they do a lot of work for Lowes, Home Depot, Bass Pro Shops, Cabellas and other national companies. Tim (right in photo) is over thirty years older that Cody but it's great to see such good team work as they coordinate their labors.
Today following our chaplain visitation we stopped by to walk through a large home show. We wanted to visit a friend who was hosting a booth. Many displays reminded us that spring will come such as the cyclamen plants above. We still have snow on the ground (lots of it) and expect another snow storm this weekend.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"God And God Alone" Video Unidentified choir
God and God alone
created all these things we call our own
From the mighty to the small
the Glory in them all
is God's and God's alone
God and God alone
is fit to take the universe's throne
Let everything that lives
reserve it's truest praise
for God and God alone
God and God alone
reveals the truth of all we call unknown
and the best and worst of man
wont change the Master's plan
it's God's and God's alone
God and God alone
will be the joy of our eternal home
He will be our one desire
Our hearts will never tire
of God's and God's alone
"Let The Worshipers Arise" Video Phillips, Craig & Dean
"Indescribable" Video Laura Story
"Vrednic Esti Tu" (Revelation Song) Video Corul si Orchestra Nationala BBSO (Romanian Young People choir and orchestra. Even though I can't understand the words what blessing to hear these young people sing and worship the Lord. I just wonder if this might be like the music in heaven!
Today's photo of the lake and mountain in the background was taken in Jutiapa, Guatemala by Marvin, a young man who lived with us when he was a little boy in the late eighties while he was up from Guatemala for medical treatment. Several years ago we reconnected through daily encouragement and we are so pleased to hear that he is doing well, is married, has a family and is serving the Lord!
In this series especially I have find much richness in using the Precept Austin Online commentary. (This commentary has become one of my first "go to" resources the last several years. Essentially it is a compendium of many commentaries. It is also a work in progress. I use several thoughts from the commentary today. Romans 1:23
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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