In America, we don’t see many actual idols that people worship. Of course you have the “idols” of this world. Fame. Money. Power. Sex.
But in Japan, we see idols all over the place, mostly of one Buddha or another. Many people also worship in front of a Shinto altar. And it’s really sad to me. Because at best, they are worshiping a piece of carved stone or metal. At worst, they’re worshiping a demon behind the stone. It’s hard for me to understand why people would do that.
Actually, for most Japanese, it’s more cultural practice than actual religious belief. But it doesn’t really change the fact of what they’re actually doing.
God puts it this way,
For the practices of the peoples are worthless;
they cut a tree out of the forest,
and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel.
They adorn it with silver and gold;
they fasten it with hammer and nails
so it will not totter.
Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field,
their idols cannot speak;
they must be carried
because they cannot walk.
Do not fear them;
they can do no harm nor can they do any good. (3-5)
The images he makes are a fraud;
they have no breath in them.
They are worthless, the objects of mockery;
when their judgment comes, they will perish. (14-15)
But God is quite different. Jeremiah says of him,
No one is like you, Lord;
you are great,
and your name is mighty in power.
Who should not fear you,
King of the nations?
This is your due.
Among all the wise leaders of the nations
and in all their kingdoms,
there is no one like you. (6-7)
The Lord is the true God;
he is the living God, the eternal King.
When he is angry, the earth trembles;
the nations cannot endure his wrath…
But God made the earth by his power;
he founded the world by his wisdom
and stretched out the heavens by his understanding. (10-12)
I don’t say this to mock those who worship these false idols. But my prayer is that they would turn from these false gods, these pieces of stone or metal, and worship the one true God. Because he alone is worthy of our worship.
Lord, I pray for Japan. Everywhere I look, I see false altars and worthless idols made of stone or metal, things that can’t help anyone. And things that will ultimately send anyone who follows them to hell. Lord, open the eyes of this people. Help them to see you, who alone are God. Help them to see your awesomeness and power. And your love. Use me, O Lord, to help deliver them from the kingdom of darkness into your marvelous light. In Jesus name, amen.