Worship Changes You

Let’s call it a spiritual law. Like a law of physics, like gravity, or thermodynamics, or Archimedes’ principle of buoyant force (go look it up). Worship changes you, and everyone worships something. The spiritual law, if you will, is that we become like what we worship. Need an example? Here you go,

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 115:4-8

Scripture tells us that idol makers, and idol worshipers become like what they make and worship. An idol is mute, blind, deaf, in fact it is entirely sensory vacant, and those who worship them become like them, lamebrains. Need another example? Sure, why not?

Exodus 32 is familiar to many. Israel builds for themselves a golden calf while Moses is up on the mountain receiving God’s law for His people. This is what we read about the Israelites  during and after the calf debacle. Israel “turned aside quickly” (Ex. 32:8) from the grace of God. The language is like the bucking of a stubborn bull, Israel was kicking against the goads, like a simple ox. The often repeated refrain that Israel “is a stiff-necked people” (32:9; 33:3, 5) is reminiscent of an cattle not broken. They resist the gracious yoke of their Master. Like wild and rebellious cattle Israel “broke loose” (Ex. 32: 25) from the stalls of God’s grace, and it is because Aaron led them in rebellion by making the golden god-idol. The people of Israel became so much like their created god that part of their punishment was to hoist their own petard. “[Moses] took the calf that they had made and burned it with fire and ground it to powder and scattered it on the water and made the people of Israel drink it” (Ex. 32:20). Israel wanted to worship a cow, they became so cow-like that they were made to consume the very image they wanted to become. Harsh, but true.

Have you made a biblical connection to another form of consumption? Yep, the Lord’s Supper. The doctrine of Reformed Theology on the sacraments as means of grace is not unfounded, but is proven. We become like what we worship. In God’s wrath idol worshipers become deaf and dumb and are made to consume their own folly. In God’s grace His people become like Christ and are called to the table of mercy to take and eat bread and wine, body and blood. Maybe this puts 1 Corinthians 10:14-22 in perspective. So, what are you worshiping?

Further reading: G.K. Beale, We Become What We Worship: A Biblical Theology of Idolatry


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