God’s presence: a vacuum for my idol factory

Psalm 138

“Man’s nature, so to speak, is a perpetual factory of idols.”  John Calvin

Today I’m thinking through what it means to be in God’s presence all the time, even when I am wresting an idol in my heart. In the Psalms, David has a lot to say about “other gods.” I find it easier to relate to what he’s talking about if I personalize “gods” by thinking of the activities, possessions or people that I trust more than God. I like Calvin’s idea about the idols in my heart; another quote of his gives me hope in the midst of production in my factory:

“We should ask God to increase our hope when it is small, awaken it when it is dormant, confirm it when it is wavering, strengthen it when it is weak, and raise it up when it is overthrown.”

At one time I naively thought it might be possible to vacuum my idol factory thoroughly enough and be done with it. I don’t believe that any more. If I could shut it down, why would I need God? Psalm 138 peeks into the window of David’s heart, showing us that God is the only one worthy to be worshiped and the only way to stand against the idols in my heart. David focuses his attention on how awesome it is to be in God’s presence.  I wish, once and for all, I could sweep out the activities, possessions and people that seem more trustworthy than God —  but I can’t.  However, I can learn how to be aware that I am always in God’s presence, and remembering and believing this really is the truth is the only way to vacuum the idols out of my heart.

Below is a pretty picture I made for us to color while we meditate on God’s character,  a great way to help us remember we are always with Him — and that He gives us life,  as opposed to the idols that will always disappoint us.

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Psalm 138

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