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God’s Word for You

Jeremiah 10:6-10

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Wednesday, September 24, 2014

6 No one is like you, LORD.
   You are great
     and your name is powerful.

What do we think of when we read or hear about the name of God? People in the Bible gave many names to God, and many more titles. They tell us all about God. His name the LORD (יְהוָה, Yahweh) means “I Am,” and tells us that he is eternal. The name of Jesus tells us that he is the same LORD, and that he has saved us (“the LORD saves”). Jesus “is himself God” (John 1:18, NIV-11), and in exactly the same way that the Father is great and his name is powerful, so Jesus is also the LORD, he is great, and his name is powerful. Don’t forget: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2:21), and “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

7 Who should not fear you,
   King of the nations?
   This is your due.
Among all the wise ones of the nations
  and in all their kingdoms
  there is no one like you.
8 They are stupid and foolish,
   instructed by worthless idols
   made of wood.
9 Hammered silver is brought from Tarshish
   and gold from Uphaz,
from the hands of a goldsmith,
  the work of a craftsman.
They are dressed in blue and purple,
  all the work of skilled craftsmen.

The line of reasoning about idols is often presented by other prophets the same way Jeremiah does it here. Isaiah has a very similar passage (Isaiah 44:13-20), as do Hosea (Hosea 4:12) and Habakkuk (Habakkuk 2:19). Why fear or bow down to a thing named “lumber,” when part of it is used for fuel and another part of it is used to wedge open the door? You can dress an idol up to look good, but it will never be anything more than it is. You might have nightmares of the idol coming to life and speaking, but those are just fears brought to life by superstition from the devil’s workshop. The Lord wipes all those fears away. He is the only one people should truly fear, because he is the Judge of all. “There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy” (James 4:12).

10 But the LORD is the true God.
     He is the living God, the eternal King.
The earth quakes at his wrath.
  The nations cannot endure his fury.

The title “the living God” occurs 28 times in the Bible, about half in the old and half in the new. It reminds us that God is not a dead thing like an idol of stone or wood, and he is not a figment of imagination or fear like the Greek and Roman gods. He is truly the LORD. His nature is a mystery to us, because while three distinct persons, God is a unified, individual and single God. Recalling many different passages of the Bible, we confess in the Athanasian Creed: “Each person—the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit—is distinct, but the deity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit is one, equal in glory and coeternal in majesty…not three Gods, but one God…not three Lords, but one Lord.”

He is our Creator, our Redeemer and our Sanctifier. Wo look to him alone for the resurrection of the dead and for eternal life. Having hinted at all this, Jeremiah will say something next that will be an attempt to put faith in the one true God into a single, simple and memorable poem. But he won’t do it in Hebrew.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.