After the death of King Solomon, the people of God divided into two nations: Israel (Northern Kingdom) and Judah (Southern Kingdom). Shortly after the kingdom’s division, the people of the Northern territory began worshipping idols in the form of golden calves. In the days of the prophet Hosea, Jehovah gave His people this message about the calf of Samaria: “For from Israel is even this: a workman made it, and it is not God; but the calf of Samaria shall be broken to pieces” (Hosea 8:6).
It was cut and dried, not open to discussion or debate. What was that? Because a golden calf was made by human hands, it could not possibly be God. God is not makeable. No humans, despite their marvelous intelligence and ingenuity, could produce the eternal God. In Hosea’s language, if a workman made it, then it is not God. Humans themselves are not deity, and neither are the works of their hands. Let us see some applications of these truths.
Material idols are not the true God. That is the obvious message of Hosea 8. The real God would not need assistance: He would not need someone to bring Him into existence or to maintain Him. Yet, with material idols, that is exactly what happens. Unlike idols shaped by human fingers, the genuine God is in heaven, and He does whatever He pleases, not being subject to the whims of men. Idols of silver and gold sometimes have mouths, but they do not speak; they have eyes, but they do not see, and they have ears, but they do not hear. They have noses, but smell not, and hands, but they handle not (Psalm 115:3-7). Material idols are not God. Seeing grown men and women, as well as the young ones whom they influence, bow before and pay homage to man-constructed gods is both infuriating and heart-wrenching. Humans do nothing that is more nonsensical.
Science and scientists are not God. We are blessed by and grateful for the scientific advances that have been made in our lifetime. It is undeniable that scientific discoveries and science education have helped the human race. We must recognize, however, that scientists often make mistakes. God does no such thing, so scientists are not on His level and thus are unworthy of worship. Many false messages have been perpetrated in the name of “science.” Not every claim of the science community/scientists is true, yet God is the God of truth (Deuteronomy 32:4). What should we conclude? Science is not God. Again, we appreciate genuine science, but it is not eternal God and is not worthy of our homage and allegiance.
Sports and recreation have their place in life, but when it comes to either a game or entertainment, as the Spirit guided Hosea to say, “It is not God.” There are some, even among God’s children, who are so enthralled with sports/games that these words describe them accurately: they are “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:4). They may deny it and may be offended when such a biblical warning is made in their presence, but the facts are the facts. We appreciate the potential for sports to help the participants get bodily exercise, learn to persevere through trials, learn to bond and work as a team, and learn to face life’s ups and downs. We err, though, if we treat sports as if they are “the greatest thing ever.”
Faithful gospel preachers are not God. Men who give themselves to preaching the word have the potential to educate, encourage, and edify those whom they teach, but preachers are merely servants, instruments via whom people believe (1 Corinthians 3:5). The Lord is flawless, preachers are not. God saves, preachers do not. God is worthy of worship, preachers are not. We are blessed by the godly influence that faithful evangelists have had on us and the church, but our devotion must not be to them.
Modern technology and communication devices have helped expedite our efforts to teach the gospel, share information, and stay in contact with people. To keep them in proper perspective, we admit that these things are not God. Mobile phones, the internet, Power Point, I-pads, and electronic devices are very much a part of many people’s daily lives, as well as helpful tools in the church’s work and worship. Yet, if all of them should go out of existence, the church would be just fine. The key to numerical and spiritual growth in the church is a commitment to King Jesus and having hearts that love the lost and saved alike.
Let us glorify God above all else!
— Roger D. Campbell