Reading: Psalm 135:15-21
The idols of the nations are silver and gold,
made by human hands.
They have mouths, but cannot speak,
eyes, but cannot see.
They have ears, but cannot hear,
nor is there breath in their mouths.
Those who make them will be like them,
and so will all who trust in them.
All you Israelites, praise the LORD;
house of Aaron, praise the LORD;
house of Levi, praise the LORD;
you who fear him, praise the LORD.
Praise be to the LORD from Zion,
to him who dwells in Jerusalem.
Praise the LORD (NIV).*
The Ottawa River — photo by David Kitz
Though it may not be obvious, there is something timeless about the first sentence from today’s reading: The idols of the nations are silver and gold, made by human hands.
In today’s world shaping silver or gold into an idol may be unusual, but it still occurs. India and the nations of Southeast Asia have plenty of gold and silver idols. This is not a dying worship form. Many have been cast in recent years.
In the western world we frown on such openly idolatrous displays of wealth and worship. Or do we? Gold and silver represent wealth. In reality, we have simply transformed our worship of wealth from bulky commodities like silver and gold to more transferable assets like securities and paper currency. We are still guilty of bowing before silver and gold, but it comes with a different name. Now we call it the almighty dollar.
The almighty dollar, or more broadly speaking, the market, determines the ebb and flow of commerce, and by extension impacts every aspect of our daily lives. It is not an exaggeration to say we are caught up in financial system that is deeply idolatrous. Our society has taken the worship of wealth (Mammon) to new heights. We elect our political leaders not on the basis of morality or personal integrity, but rather can they deliver a higher level of GDP—put more money in our pockets.
Into this corrupt world, St. Peter speaks these words to those who have been called to follow Christ: For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect (1 Peter 1:18-19).
Response: Father God, I need the right perspective on wealth and finances. Your precious blood is worth more than all the silver and gold this world has to offer. I bow before you as my Almighty Savior. Amen.
Your Turn: Is Jesus the Lord of your finances? Is your Redeemer more important than wealth?
* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA
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