Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 11, 1968
NUMBER 35, PAGE 1-2a

The Manufacture Of A God

Jefferson David Tant

"And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of Egypt, we know not what is become of Him." (Exodus 32:1) And thus begins the record of how Aaron took the golden rings of the Israelites and fashioned them into the famed "Golden Calf" which became an object of worship to the Israelites.

Moses, as you remember, had ascended Mount Sinai to commune with God in the matter of the national law that was to guide Israel for the next 1500 years. After Moses had been absent for some time, the people grew restive and impatient, and finally persuaded Aaron to make them a god of their own invention, after their own ideas. Thus did they "manufacture" a god that suited their own taste. Alas! This was not the last time that Israel so sinned. We note in Isaiah 30 that Jehovah pronounces a "woe to the rebellious children" who displayed a similar attitude "For it is a rebellious people, lying children that will not hear the law of Jehovah; that say to the seers, see not; and to the prophets, prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits, get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One to cease from before us."

The Jews of Isaiah's day wanted a god of their own choosing, who would pronounce whatever commandments and judgments pleased them. Whereupon, they told the seers and prophets: "Either preach it the way we want it, or don't preach it at all." Another attempt to manufacture a god to please man.

We all realize the folly of such attitudes, and the futility of their attempts to create a god in their own image. Moses had declared that just the reverse was true: "And God said, Let us make man in our image." (Gen. 1:26) Man, having been created by God, was created to serve God and to do His will. "This is the end of the matter; all hath been heard: Fear God, and keep His commandments; for this is the whole duty of man." (Eccl. 12:13) Is this not the role God ascribed to the nation of Israel as he admonished: "Remember these things, O Jacob, and Israel; for thou art my servant: I have formed thee; thou art my servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me." (Isaiah 44:21) Yes, we all realize that it is God's to command; ours to obey. It is God's to reveal; ours to accept. But why not practice it? Why not make a practical application of this principle?

People have not changed. Religious people display exactly the same attitudes today as did the Israelites thousands of years ago. This is so plainly demonstrated in conversations I have with others relating to the Bible and its teaching and commands for us.

For example, sometime ago I was talking with a neighbor of mine concerning the Bible doctrine of faith and works. He was a young Baptist preacher, and subscribed to the Philadelphia Confession of Faith as found outlined in the various Baptist Manuals. As my friend affirmed the popular "salvation by faith only" theory, I asked him to explain James 2:24 for me. I turned to the passage and asked him to read, which he did. "Ye see that by works a man is justified, and not only by faith." Upon reading the passage, he looked up at me and firmly exclaimed: "That's not the kind of God I serve." Slam! Closed mind. Locked, bolted, fastened, nailed, latched, welded shut! End of conversation! He finally did admit that he had never read the book of James, and that he did not know such a verse was in the Bible. But its presence seemed to make not a particle of difference to him. He had his god all fixed and set permanently in his mind, and it pleased him. He would hear nothing else God had to say. Is this not the sin of the Israelites, who had in their own mind what they wanted, and would have nothing else?

Again, I was having a conversation with a friend who is a member of the Methodist church. She is a good friend, and we were having a serious discussion about the Bible. We were in agreement on many points until we came to the subject of "one body," or church. After some discussion, including such passages as Matt. 16:18 and Eph. 4:4, she said, "I'll go along with nearly everything you say, but I just can't accept the idea of there being just one church, even if you read it to me out of the Bible," Slam! and what more could I say? If God's Word would not convince her, how could I convince her myself? I had nothing to add, indeed, I had nothing else on which to base an appeal. Dear reader, has not this person invented and manufactured a god that suits her own ideas. Verily!

And so it continues as the Apostle Paul said in II Tim. 4:34: "For the time will come when they will not endure the sound doctrine; but, having itching ears, will heap to themselves teachers after their own lusts; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and turn aside unto fables."

Friend, do you accept what the Bible teaches ONLY when it coincides with what you already believe; ONLY when it does not contradict your own preconceived ideas or denominational doctrines? Do you put denominational doctrine or personal opinion above the Word of God? If so, YOU HAVE MANUFACTURED YOUR OWN GOD JUST AS SURELY AS DID THE ISRAELITES. You have made an idol of the doctrines and ideas of man, and serve accordingly, rather than serving according to the revelation of God. Note, and note well the following verses: "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." (Matt. 24:35) "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by EVERY WORD that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." (Matt. 4:4) "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my sayings, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I spake, the same shall judge him in the last day." (John 12:48)

Dear Reader, regardless of what the scriptures declare, receive it "not as the word of men, but, as it is in truth, the word of God, which also worketh in you that believe." (I Thess. 2:13) Therein is the power of God unto salvation. (Rom. 1:16)

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