Idol Factories

In contrast to God [who does what He pleases, Psalm 115:3], what can men, on their own, do? They can make idols. In fact, left to themselves, making idols is exactly what they will do. These idols he calls “the work of men’s hands”…That is to say, idolatry is the only thing that the children of men, left to their own devices, can do. Once again, then, we continue the theme of man’s utter weakness contrasted with God’s omnipotent activity: “Not to us, but to Your name give glory.”

The psalmist seems to enjoy meditating on the futility of these idols, “the work of men’s hands,” for he spends considerable effort in describing their impotence. Using the mystical number seven, a standard biblical symbol of perfection, he goes on to tell what these idols cannot do: (1) “They have mouths, but they do not speak;” (2) “Eyes they have, but they do not see;” (3) “They have ears, but they do not  hear;” (4) “Noses they have, but they do not smell;” (5) “They have hands, but they do not handle;” (6) “Feet they have, but they do not walk;” and (7) “Nor do they mutter through their throat.” There you have it. These idols, “the work of men’s hands,” are perfectly imperfect. They are infinitely nothing; there is simply no limit to their imperfection and nothingness.

… The silence of the idols becomes the unending silence of eternal loss. Those who make them become like them.

The children of men, therefore, must not put their trust in the works of their own hands, which are destined to perish with them. Where, then, put our trust? “O Israel, trust in the Lord…O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord…You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord; He is their help and their shield.”

— Patrick Henry Reardon, Christ in the Psalms, 227-228.


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