Encouragement · Faith · Hope · moment of truth monday

Moment of Truth Monday: Settling for Substitutes

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

Be still, and know. That is counterintuitive to my fight or flight instinct. My natural response is to complain to others, hold someone accountable, and get people to see it my way. I put my feelings and needs at the center of everything. To be still, and know, I have to find put myself in the right position.

Notice the subject of the verse in Psalm 46. It is not you, and it is not me. I get that wrong so much. Here’s why. Idolatry has a way of subtly sneaking in and it’s easy to set things and people, even ourselves, higher than God. Verses like this restore us to the proper posture before God.

Within the historical context, polytheism {the belief or worship of more than one god} was common. Hence, when Moses goes to Mt. Sinai in Exodus 34, idolatry is addressed. Verse 17 says, do not make any idols. This is to the group that erected a golden calf–just two chapters prior–when Moses was taking too long on the mount the first time. Are you kidding?

Idolatry rises from impatience {an inability to wait} in this case, and I’m afraid some things don’t change.

Before God addresses idolatry, He first reminds Moses of his identity in Exodus 34:5-7.

Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the Lord. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.

Why? Because if we don’t deep down know who God is, we will settle for substitutes. Maybe not golden calves because we are far more refined. We prefer cars, titles, designer labels, and pity parties. God calls out His identity for our sake. We have fleeting affections and failing memories.

Our hearts cannot love what our mind does not know.

We have made a mess of things. Haven’t we? When sin entered the narrative, we began reaching for our own way. Our thinking became plagued with stubbornness, arrogance, and self-sufficiency. This tendency toward self-sufficiency birthed idolatry, and we became a people in need of reconciliation and restoration.

Our human inability only exemplifies God’s ability. 

Be still, and know that I AM GOD. Stop striving and be confident to your core that I can do so much more than your mind can comprehend. Will we believe that? What changes if we grab onto this truth in a way that signifies belief?

When my children were tiny and melting down, I used to make them fold their hands and look in my eyes as I attempted to redirect a downward spiral. They had to do the work to fold their hands because it was engaging their brain and averting their attention away from the object of their obsession. Folding their hands was my diversion tactic. Why? I knew if they could take their attention off the thing they were obsessing over, they could reset. But there is one more key to this working. My kids had to believe [trust] that I had their best interest in mind.

Psalm 46:10 is a call to believe.

To believe that God’s plan wins. That he can glorify himself in and through our lives. It’s a call to believe in His presence and provision. Where does verse 11 say he will be exalted? In all the earth. As far as I know, all means all in this passage! He alone is God. No other will satiate our longings and desires in the manner that He can and does. The question is, will we believe?

Be still, and know that I am God.

He wants us to know every facet of his character. He welcomes our ceasing and invites us to reflect on His ability because we can only know who we are when we understand who He is. He is better than the substitutes that continue to disappoint our deepest longings.

Do you know Him?

Are you ready to know Him in a deeper way?

Will you be still, turn your attention toward the face of your Father, and let Him be what you’ve been trying to be yourself?

He can and will. I am living proof.

Want to dig deeper into the concept of idolatry? Check out my book, Broken Vessels, for an in-depth look at how idolatry leads to brokenness, and God redeems our brokenness to advance the gospel.

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