God does what He wants {Psalm 115}

I’ve been thinking about idols lately.

Last week I prayed Psalm 115. It starts off so lovely,

“Not to us, O Lord, not to us,
But to Your name give glory
Because of Your lovingkindness, because of Your truth….”

But verse 3 takes a turn, announcing

“Our God is in the heavens;
He does whatever He pleases.”

Not exactly a characteristic of God we tend to paint on rustic wood hangings or put on artisanal coffee mugs.

When we want God to do what we want, is it a form of idolatry?

But that gets at the root of idolatry, doesn’t it? We want a god who does what we want.

My false god, my idol, is a god who will do what I want.

What I want from God right now is answers. I want Him to remind me that He is able to handle the hard things and questions in my life. Dig down under that and you find what I really want is assurance that He’s going to handle those things my way. I want a promise that everything is going to be OK, by my definition of OK, and in my timing.

But I don’t have that promise.

And wanting a God who does things my way is dangerous. Idolatry is dangerous. The danger shows up in Psalm 115:8, an alarm and a warning.

Those who make them have become just like them, have become just like the gods they trust.

We become like what we trust in.

When I want a god who does what want, what am I asking for? What am I trusting? And how is that shaping me?

Wanting a god who does what I want is wanting my own control, my own wisdom, my own way.

A god who does what I want is a human creation. A figment of my imagination, in no way worthy of my trust. An idol. An idol with no mouth to speak, no eyes to see, no ears to hear.

Wanting a god who does what I want leads me back to myself.

We become like what we trust in.

When I turn away from a God who does what He wants wishing for a god who will do what I want, I become voiceless, blind, deaf. I enter a cycle of self, worshipping my own control, my own plan.

Can I trust a God who does what He wants?

The Psalmist warns us of the danger of idolatry, but he also gives us the antidote. The cure for idolatry? Trusting in the Lord.

O Israel, trust in the Lord;
He is their help and their shield.
O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord;
He is their help and their shield.
You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord;
He is their help and their shield. (Psalm 115:9-11)

What I want from God right now is answers. And I’m not promised answers, or certainty, not given any assurance that things will go the way I want.

But I do have God’s promise that He is with me.

And I have the assurance that this God who does what He wants is lovingkindness and truth. When the Psalmist uses the word “lovingkindness”, he is invoking God’s covenant love. This God who does what He wants? He has bound Himself to His people, in committed love.

He is a God who sees. He hears. He knows.

So I will wait. I will surrender my frustration over the uncertainty in my life, I will stop begging God to do what I want. And I will worship the God who does what He wants.

A prayer of consent

I open the door to You, my God who does what He wants. I release my agenda, my plan, my best ideas about how life should be. I welcome You, God who does what He wants. I trust You, I rely on your lovingkindness, I believe your committed love for me. You are my help and shield, my shelter and safety and my companion. My God is in heaven and He does what He wants. Amen.

We become like what we trust in.

What are you trusting in today?

Every Tuesday I post devotional thoughts, processing from my “Front Porch” time with Jesus. If you’d like to see more like this, you can find that here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s