Sermon No: 2631-False gods

SERMON TOPIC: False gods

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 19 April 2015


Sermon synopsis: Have you ever thought that the ten plagues that God poured out in judgement on Egypt seemed rather arbitrary? Why use frogs, a bloody river, flies and locusts? The Bible gives two clues as to the answer.
- Pharaoh boldly asserts, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey him and let Israel go?” (Ex 5:2).
- God speaks of executing judgment on all the gods of Egypt.
Ex 12:12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt … and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD.”

So Pharaoh won’t listen to Moses and felt no compulsion to obey God’s commands because:
- He claimed not to know God and thus felt that he was not subject to his authority. He did not acknowledge that God had any sovereignty over his life.
- He was trusting in the false gods of Egypt along with their priests and magicians and submitted only to their authority.
So the showdown between Moses and Pharaoh becomes a “battle of the gods” and results in ten very specific plagues, not arbitrary in any sense.

False gods

Ex 20:3-5 “You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them…”


Here are some famous last words made about technology:

“Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons.” - 1949 Popular Mechanics magazine.

“There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.” – in 1977 by Ken Olsen, founder of legendary minicomputer company DEC

“The Macintosh uses an experimental pointing device called a ‘mouse’. There is no evidence that people want to use these things.” – in 1984 by John C. Dvorak, American columnist and broadcaster in the areas of technology and computing.

“Spam will be a thing of the past in two years’ time.” – in 2004 by Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder.


Who is the LORD, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD and I will not let Israel go. (Exodus 5:2)

And here are some famous last words made by Pharaoh before the judgement of the ten plagues.

Have you ever thought that the ten plagues that God poured out in judgement on Egypt seemed rather arbitrary? Why use frogs, a bloody river, flies and locusts? The Bible gives two clues as to the answer.

Pharaoh boldly asserts, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey him and let Israel go?” (Ex 5:2).

God speaks of executing judgement on all the gods of Egypt.

Ex 12:12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt … and I will bring judgement on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD.”


So Pharaoh won’t listen to Moses and felt no compulsion to obey God’s commands because:

He claimed not to know God and thus felt that he was not subject to his authority. He did not acknowledge that God had any sovereignty over his life.

He was trusting in the false gods of Egypt along with their priests and magicians and submitted only to their authority.

So the showdown between Moses and Pharaoh becomes a “battle of the gods” and results in ten very specific plagues, not arbitrary in any sense.


All the plagues brought upon the Egyptians are directly related to their folly and sin in worshipping false gods.

Every plague was a frontal attack against a particular Egyptian god, proving that the true God was the one who had authority over that area of life, as he indeed has over every area of life.

As they had a pantheon of gods, the Egyptians assigned a specific deity to rule over all aspects of their lives from the mundane to the miraculous. Let us look at each of the plagues and the significance they would have had to both Pharaoh and his pagan subjects.


Interestingly in addition to the Biblical account we have a ancient papyrus written by an Egyptian named Ipuwer which seems to be an eyewitness account of the ten plagues. The papyrus discovered in the 19th century and translated by A.H. Gardiner in 1909 is in the Leiden Museum in Holland.

Some excerpts from the document are “the river is blood” (2:10), “grain has perished on every side” (6:3), “the land is without light” (9:11), “all animals, their hearts weep” (5:5) and “the children of princes are dashed against the walls” (4:3). It also speaks of the escape of the slaves with the wealth of the Egyptians - “Gold and lapis lazuli, silver and malachite, carnelian and bronze... are fastened on the neck of female slaves.” (3:2)


Renenutet was a goddess of nourishment and the harvest depicted as a cobra, or as a woman with the head of a cobra. 1 Later, as a snake-goddess worshiped over the whole of Lower Egypt, Renenutet was increasingly associated with Wadjet, Lower Egypt’s powerful protector and another snake goddess represented as a cobra. Eventually Renenutet was identified as an alternate form of Wadjet, whose gaze was said to slaughter enemies. Wadjet is the cobra on the crown of the pharaohs. 1

1 "http:// wiki/ Renenutet">http:// wiki/ Renenutet



Another cobra goddess was Meretseger, ‘she who loves the silence’, who could punish criminals with blindness or her venom.

As a cobra, she spat poison at anyone who tried to vandalise or rob the royal tombs. In art she was portrayed as either a coiled cobra, or as a woman-headed cobra, or rarely as a triple headed cobra, where one head was that of a cobra, one of a woman, and one of a vulture. 1

1 "http:// wiki/ Meretseger">http:// wiki/ Meretseger


MERETSEGER (from Saqqara, Egypt)

And so as a sign to the snake-worshipping Egyptians, when Moses and Aaron go before Pharaoh, “Aaron threw his staff down in front of Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a snake.” (Ex 7:10)


When the Egyptian magicians Jannes and Jambres did the same thing with their secret arts, God embarrasses and shows up their false religion when Moses’ staff- turned- snake devours the snakes they produced. (Ex 7:11-12)


The Nile River was key to the agriculture and livelihood of Egypt and was thus regarded as sacred.

Hapi was the god of the Nile supposedly responsible for bringing the fertile flooding. His followers worshipped him even above Ra as without the Nile the Egyptians would have perished. They annually sacrificed a girl, or as others say, both a boy and girl.

But it is the true God, in his providence, who made and controlled the Nile.



And so God brings judgement on the Egyptians for worshipping this false river god.

Exodus 7:20-21 Moses … raised his staff in the presence of Pharaoh and his officials and struck the water of the Nile, and all the water was changed into blood. The fish in the Nile died, and the river smelled so bad that the Egyptians could not drink its water.

Hapi, a supposed god, had now brought not prosperity, but ruin. As the Egyptians annually sacrificed children to Hapi, God might have designed this plague as a punishment for such cruelty.

When Moses turned the waters of the Nile into blood:

Where was Taweret, the hippopotamus goddess of the Nile?

Where were the gods Khnum, Anqet and Satet, who were the guardians of the source of the Nile?



Where was the fish-goddess Hatmehit, when all the fish in the Nile River died?

One of the greatest gods of Egypt was Osiris, the god of the underworld. The Egyptians believed the Nile water was the transformed life-blood of Osiris. Isn’t it ironic that the true God turns the Nile water to blood when he judges the worshippers of Osiris?




The frog goddess Heqet was often shown as a frog-headed woman or as a frog.

Because the Egyptians saw that there were many frogs, all appearing from the Nile, they associated the frog with fertility and resurrection, and so Heqet was the goddess of childbirth.

But fertility is a result of the true God’s blessing:

Gen 1:27-28 …male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number…”



Ex 8:1-4 “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the LORD says: … I will plague your whole country with frogs. The Nile will teem with frogs. They will come up into your palace and your bedroom and onto your bed, into the houses of your officials and on your people, and into your ovens and kneading troughs. The frogs will go up on you and your people and all your officials.’”


Heqet was believed to assist women in childbirth. Consider the irony in the statement that the frogs invaded Pharaoh’s bedroom and even jumped on his bed. Their beds were the very places where the blessings of Heqet were sought.


Frogs were considered sacred and could not be killed. Yet now the frogs were in the beds, ovens and kneading troughs and the Egyptians were prohibited from killing them because of their foolish idea of a frog-god!


Ex 8:13-14 The frogs died in the houses, in the courtyards and in the fields. They were piled into heaps, and the land reeked of them.

Heqet, the supposed goddess of fruitfulness, had brought only inconvenience and a stench in the land.


Geb was the Egyptian god of the Earth… It was believed in ancient Egypt that Geb’s laughter were earthquakes and that he allowed crops to grow. 1

But it is God who gives sun and rain for the crops of all men:

Matt 5:45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

1 "http:// wiki/ Geb">http:// wiki/ Geb



Then comes the first plague that the magicians could not duplicate:

Ex 8:16 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the ground,’ and throughout the land of Egypt the dust will become gnats.”


The word “gnats” is rendered as “lice” in some translations.

This plague would have been an embarrassment to Geb, the god of the earth. Egyptians gave offerings to Geb for the bounty of the soil - yet it was from “the dust of the ground” that this plague originated.


This plague would have been especially dreadful for the priests of Egypt, who shaved their bodies all over every other day to guard against the presence of lice. 1 The daily rituals of the priests would have been rendered impossible because of physical uncleanness. So the land was infected with lice, yet the priests could not even enter their temples to appeal to their gods due to their ritual impurity!

1 Greek historian Herodotus wrote of the Egyptian priests. “The priests shave their bodies all over every other day to guard against the presence of lice, or anything else equally unpleasant, while they are about their religious duties; the priests, too, wear linen only, and shoes made from the papyrus plant… They bathe in cold water twice a day and twice every night - and observe innumerable other ceremonies besides.” (The Histories, p. 99).

The winged scarab beetle symbolised the sun god Khepri. The Egyptians imagined that the sun was propelled through the sky the same way that the real insect pushes a ball of dung around. Khepri supposedly rolled the sun like a huge ball through the sky, then rolled it through the underworld to the eastern horizon. Each morning Khepri would renew the sun so that it could give life to all the world.

But God made and controls the sun:

Job 9:7 He speaks to the sun and it does not shine; he seals off the light of the stars.


Moses pronounces the next judgement of God to Pharaoh:

Ex 8:21 … I will send swarms [of flies] on you and your officials, on your people and into your houses. The houses of the Egyptians will be full of flies, and even the ground where they are.


Actually Moses did not use the phrase “of flies” here - he simply used the word “swarms” - the phrase “of flies” is added by the English translators. 1

1 See text/ exodus/ 8-21.htm


It is quite possible that the ‘swarms’ in this passage may have been swarms of the scarab beetle. The scarab was actually a dung beetle – an insect that feeds on the dung in the fields. The plague of swarms of scarabs, with mandibles that could saw through wood, was destructive and worse than termites!


The Septuagint renders the word “arob” as kunomuia or dog-fly. It’s important to note that the Septuagint was a Greek translation of the OT by Hebrew scholars living in Alexandria, Egypt.

If this is the correct rendering, this plague must have been particularly hateful to the Egyptians, because they held dogs in the highest veneration, under which form they worshipped Anubis.



The Egyptians held in idolatrous reverence almost every animal. Yet God created the animals and intended man to have dominion over them – not to worship them.

Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground. (Gen 1:28)


But man worships what he was meant to rule.

The Egyptians held in particular veneration the ox, cow, and ram. Among these, Apis and Mnevis are well known; the former being a sacred bull, worshipped at Memphis, as the latter was at Heliopolis. Hathor was the cow-headed goddess of the desert. This may be the reason the Israelites requested Aaron to make a calf-god in the wilderness.



By the infliction of the next judgement, the Egyptian deities again sink before the God of the Hebrews.

Ex 9:3 “… the hand of the LORD will bring a terrible plague on your livestock in the field—on your horses and donkeys and camels and on your cattle and sheep and goats.”


Imhotep served under the Third Dynasty king Djoser as chancellor to the pharaoh and is considered by some to be the earliest physician in early history. 1




He was later worshipped as a god of medicine and future generations identified or confused him with Thoth, the ibis-headed god of knowledge, architecture, mathematics and medicine.

1 SOURCE: "http:// wiki/ Imhotep">http:// wiki/ Imhotep

Ex 9:8-9 Then the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Take handfuls of soot from a furnace and have Moses toss it into the air in the presence of Pharaoh. It will become fine dust over the whole land of Egypt, and festering boils will break out on men and animals throughout the land.”


This was a significant command referring to a cruel rite common among the Egyptians. They had several cities in which at particular seasons they sacrificed men, who were burnt alive; and the ashes of the victim were scattered upwards in the air, with the view, probably, that where any atom of dust was carried, a blessing was entailed. Moses does something similar but with a different intention, and more certain effect 1 – showing that the practice brought a curse, not a blessing.

This medical plague of boils highlighted the uselessness of Imhotep and Thoth, the gods supposedly in charge of medicine, healing, and medical learning.

1 Treasury of Scripture exodus/ 9-8.htm


Nut was the sky goddess. Her most general appearance is that of a woman resting on hands and feet, her body forming an arch, thus representing the sky. Her limbs typified the four pillars on which the sky was supposed to rest. She was supposed originally to be reclining on Geb, the earth.

She supposedly swallowed the Sun at night and gave birth to it again at dawn.




Ex 9:23-24 When Moses stretched out his staff toward the sky, the Lord sent thunder and hail, and lightning flashed down to the ground. So the Lord rained hail on the land of Egypt; hail fell and lightning flashed back and forth.

Ex 9:24-25 It was the worst storm in all the land of Egypt since it had become a nation. Throughout Egypt hail struck everything in the fields—both people and animals; it beat down everything growing in the fields and stripped every tree.

Where was the sky goddess Nut while all this was happening?


Renenutet was a cobra goddess from the Delta area. She was considered to protect the harvest and given the epithets “Goddess of the Double Granary”, the “Lady of Fertile Fields” and the “Lady of Granaries”. She was the mother of Nepri. 1




Neper (alternative Nepra or Nepri) was a god of grain. His female counterpart was Nepit, the goddess of grain. 1

1 " renenutet.html"> renenutet.html 2 "http:// wiki/ Neper_(mythology)">http:// wiki/ Neper_%28mythology%29

Ex 10:13-14 So Moses stretched out his staff over Egypt, and the LORD made an east wind blow across the land all that day and all that night. By morning the wind had brought the locusts; they invaded all Egypt and settled down in every area of the country in great numbers.


Ex 10:14-15 Never before had there been such a plague of locusts, nor will there ever be again. They covered all the ground until it was black. They devoured all that was left after the hail— everything growing in the fields and the fruit on the trees. Nothing green remained on tree or plant in all the land of Egypt.


Scarcely anything could have distressed the Egyptians more than the destruction of the flax, as the whole nation wore linen garments. The ruin of their barley was equally fatal, both to their trade and to their private advantage.

Again, as with the preceding plagues, the gods of Egypt were silent. You have to wonder what their worshippers thought as they saw the devastation. Where was Nepri, the god of grain? Where was Renenutet, the patroness of the harvest?


In the Ancient Egyptian religion the principal creator god is the sun-god Ra. Other creator deities were Amun, Atum, Bennu, Khepri, Neith and Ptah. 1

But the Bible says:

Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

1 "http:// wiki/ List_of_Egyptian_deities">http:// wiki/ List_of_Egyptian_deities


Ra was a sun god whose cult was centred at Heliopolis, and is usually represented with a man’s body and a falcon’s head surmounted by a solar disk. Ra was believed to sail across the sky in a boat each day and under the world at night.

But God created the sun for man’s benefit, not to be an object of worship.

Gen 1:16-18 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness.



Ex 10:21-23 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that darkness will spread over Egypt—darkness that can be felt.” So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days. No one could see anyone else or leave his place for three days.


The cults of Amun and Ra became increasingly popular in Upper and Lower Egypt respectively and were later combined to create Amun-Ra, a solar creator god. 1

Amun-Ra was a major god of the Egyptians. In fact Amun-Ra was given the official title “king of the gods” by worshippers. 1

But now the light of the sun-god Ra was blotted out. This plague of darkness was an insult to Egypt’s religion and entire culture.

1 "http:// wiki/ Ra">http:// wiki/ Ra


Pharaoh was supposedly a god, always the son of Amun-Ra, ruling not merely by divine right but by divine birth, as a deity transiently tolerating the earth as his home. On his head was the falcon, symbol of Horus and totem of the tribe; from his forehead rose the serpent, symbol of wisdom and life, and communicating magic virtues to the crown. The king was chief-priest of the faith, and led the great processions and ceremonies that celebrated the festivals of the gods.


Pharaoh Horemheb with Amun-Ra, the king of the gods, standing beside him.

In the last plague, Pharaoh’s successor – a supposed deity - was killed:

Ex 12:29 At midnight the LORD struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well.


Ex 12:30 Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead.

Earlier on in the Book of Exodus we see how Pharaoh authorised the killing of Hebrew boys by the Egyptians:

Ex 1:15-16 The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, … “When you help the Hebrew women in childbirth and observe them on the delivery stool, if it is a boy, kill him…

But now we have a plague where not only Pharaoh’s firstborn dies. So do all the Egyptian firstborn. So this was also a judgement for the killing of Hebrew boys.

Matt 7:2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Gal 6:7-9 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.


Like the Egyptians, many pagan religions deified the sun, moon stars, rivers and animals.

Rom 1:18-25 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness … For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools … They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator— who is forever praised. Amen.


Later in the time of Elijah, we see God’s judgement on those who worshipped Baal. Baal was supposed to bring rain. Yet Elijah stopped the rain for 3½ years.


As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word. (1 Kings 17:1)

3 years later the Bible recounts the break in the drought following the overthrow of Baal worship on Mount Carmel.

1 Kings 18:44 So Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’ ”

The drought imposed and withdrawn at God’s word was a challenge to Baal’s sovereignty over nature.


But a god is not necessarily an idol or a spiritual deity.

Samson had a weakness for Philistine women and put them before his service to God.

Ultimately it was a Philistine woman who was responsible for his eyes being gouged out and being forced to work as a slave. (Judges 16)


In our Western culture where worship of idols, animals or planets is rare, we still have those who hold higher regard for the creation than for the Creator. And some have even denied that God played any role in the creation of the universe.

Today concern for the environment (e.g. trees, oceans, rivers) and animals has taken the place of reverence for God. Father God has been replaced by Mother Nature. Activists want to save the whales and the rhinos, but break God’s law by murdering unborn babies.


Now there is nothing wrong with being concerned about the planet and the environment. In fact God put man in charge of the welfare of animals and plant life.

Gen 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”


And we should be concerned about the animals.

Prov 12:10 A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal…

But concern for the creation must not be done at the expense of forgetting our obligation to our Creator.


And so we see in the future that God will judge those who revere creation but ignore the Creator. We see this in the 7 trumpet judgements in Revelation.

The 1st trumpet judgement affects the earth, trees and grass.

Rev 8:7 The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down upon the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.


The 2nd trumpet affects the sea.

Rev 8:8 The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood…


The 3rd trumpet affects the rivers.

Rev 8:10-11 The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water—

—the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.

4th trumpet affects the solar system and stellar bodies.

Rev 8:12 The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night.

See NOTE 3


5th trumpet - God judges those who worship fallen angels and demons. We see the release of fallen angels that God has shielded mankind from. Man is now left to experience the true nature of these false gods he has worshipped.

Rev 9:2-4 The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss. And out of the smoke locusts came down on the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads.


The 6th trumpet – again fallen angels are no longer restrained from harming man.

Rev 9:14-15 … “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind.

See NOTE 5


It is clear that these judgements are because men have worshipped both demons and idols. Because in the context of that judgement we read:

Rev 9:20-21 The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.

The intention of the judgement is for man to repent. The judgement is God’s way of trying to get people to realise the folly of worshipping man-made things.


At the sounding of the 7th trumpet there is the announcement of judgement on “those who destroy the earth”:

Rev 11:15-17 The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.” And the twenty-four elders… fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying:… “The time has come … for destroying those who destroy the earth.”

This is not about the physical earth but the moral corruption in man. God is more concerned about the moral destruction of the earth.


Pagans worship objects that are not gods by nature

Isaiah 44:6-9 “This is what the LORD says… I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God. Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it… Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.” All who make idols are nothing, and the things they treasure are worthless. Those who would speak up for them are blind; they are ignorant, to their own shame.


Even the craftsman who makes the idol is but a man and sometimes his object of worship resembles himself.

Isaiah 44:10-14 Who shapes a god and casts an idol, which can profit him nothing? He and his kind will be put to shame; craftsmen are nothing but men… He shapes it in the form of man, of man in all his glory, that it may dwell in a shrine. He cut down cedars, or perhaps took a cypress or oak. He let it grow among the trees of the forest, or planted a pine, and the rain made it grow.


See NOTE 4

And then they worship the object of their own creation and expect it to save them:

Isaiah 44:16-17 Half of the wood he burns in the fire; over it he prepares his meal… He also warms himself… From the rest he makes a god, his idol; he bows down to it and worships. He prays to it and says, “Save me; you are my god.”


So they hope that a block of wood will deliver them:

Isaiah 44:18-19 They know nothing, they understand nothing; their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see, and their minds closed so they cannot understand. No one stops to think, no one has the knowledge or understanding to say, “Half of it I used for fuel; I even baked bread over its coals, I roasted meat and I ate. Shall I make a detestable thing from what is left? Shall I bow down to a block of wood?”


Hab 2:19 “Woe to him who says to wood, 'Come to life!' Or to lifeless stone, 'Wake up!' Can it give guidance? It is covered with gold and silver; there is no breath in it.”


But a false god can do nothing for you in your hour of need:

Jer 16:19 O LORD, my strength and my fortress, my refuge in time of distress, to you the nations will come… and say, “Our fathers possessed nothing but false gods, worthless idols that did them no good.”


See NOTE 4

Even the spiritual forces behind idols are demons, which are not gods by nature:

1 Cor 10:19-20 Do I mean then that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons.


You can make a god out of anything, but that does not make it God by nature:

Gal 4:8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods.

1 Cor 8:4-6 So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one. For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.


But you can make a god out of anything or anybody. It is not necessarily a physical idol. How can you tell what your true god is?

What do you spend your money on?

Matt 6:19-21 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth… But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven … For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

What do you talk about the most?

1 Pet 3:15 Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…

What or who is your God?

What do you spend your time doing?

Funny, isn’t it?

Funny how long an hour seems when we’re at church and how short 60 minutes seems when we’re entertaining ourselves or playing sport.

Funny how laborious it is to read a chapter in the Bible, and how easy it is to read two or three hundred pages of a good selling novel.

Funny how refreshing a sudden rain is at home, but how foreboding it is when it’s time for church.

What or who is your God?

What do you think about the most?

Phil 3:19-20 … Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven.

What would you be prepared to give up your life for?

Matt 16:24-25 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.”

Who do you put your trust in when you have times of trouble?

Is your trust in your bank balance, your insurance policies or in God?

What or who is your God?

Who do you consult when you need counselling? Your pastor or your psychologist?

Psalm 1:1 (NKJV) Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly…

What or who is your God?

Who do you pray to? Jesus or your ancestors?

Some people believe they can pray to their ancestors for help in times of trouble. Animists pray to their dead ancestors for guidance. In Nov 2012, SA President Jacob Zuma slaughtered 12 cows and burnt traditional incense at his Nkandla homestead. While dancing in his leopard skin, he asked his dead ancestors for help in his embattled political career, which has been dogged by repeated corruption allegations.

What or who is your God?

Can your dead ancestors help you? The Bible says that there is no knowledge or wisdom in the grave.

Eccl 9:10b … for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.

Deut 18:10-12 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in a the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD

What or who is your God?

Who do you put your trust in for the future? A fortune teller or God?

Some people believe that they can get guidance for their life from their dead relatives and friends.

Isaiah 8:19 When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists… should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?


Westerners who laugh at those who pray to their ancestors often have another god they trust in – money!

Matt 6:24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”

What or who is your God?


Luke 8:14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.

What or who is your God?


Some make rock stars, movie stars or sport heroes their idols. Dion da Mucci sang:

Looking back over the years My story did unfold I worshipped people and their gifts Not the gift giver at all You see people they’ve come and gone But life in Him goes on and on He’s given me a brand new song to sing

I put away my idols I stripped away all the titles Money wrinkles and things do decay I put away my idols

What or who is your God?


1 Thess 4:3-5 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God

What or who is your God?

What or who is your God?


Due to the influence of humanistic psychology our world is focussed on the exultation of self. People believe that their own ideas, opinions, ethics and preferences are the only ones to consider. The result is self-confidence, self-esteem, self indulgence, self-love and self-righteousness.

Rom 12:3 … Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.

Prov 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

Mark 3:34 “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”

Some people take things which are not bad in themselves like sport, entertainment, food and family as their gods.


1 Tim 4:8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

What or who is your God?

What or who is your God?


1 Tim 3:3-5 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be … lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power.

What or who is your God?

The desire for and pursuit of pleasure:

Is futile

Eccl 2:1 I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure. So enjoy yourself.” And behold, it too was futility.

Chokes you and keeps you an immature Christian

Luke 8:14… they are choked by … riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.

Enslaves you

Titus 3:3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures…


Phil 3:19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach

1 Cor 6:12-13 “Everything is permissible for me”— but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me”—but I will not be mastered by anything. “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food”—but God will destroy them both.

What or who is your God?


Matt 10:37 “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me…”

What or who is your God?

Some are content because they worship God. But they actually worship God plus something else.

The Samaritans did this.

2 Kings 17:33 They worshiped the Lord, but they also served their own gods in accordance with the customs of the nations from which they had been brought.

So you worship God plus your ancestors, God plus money, God plus self. But Jesus said “No one can serve two masters” (Matt 6:24).


You can choose to serve something that is not God by nature:

Acts 7:39-42 “But our fathers refused to obey him. Instead, they rejected him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt. They told Aaron, ‘Make us gods who will go before us… That was the time they made an idol in the form of a calf. They brought sacrifices to it and held a celebration in honour of what their hands had made. But God turned away and gave them over to the worship of the heavenly bodies.”


Unlike those things and entities that are not God by nature, in contrast Jesus is “in very nature God” i.e. eternal, sinless, omnipotent (all powerful), omniscient (all knowledge), omnipresent (everywhere at once), immutable (unchanging) etc.

Phil 2:5-7 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped…


But just as surely as the Egyptians were judged, if you continue to worship false gods or put things or people before God, there will come a day when the very god you have worshipped will be “shown up” or destroyed.

Jer 13:24-25 “I will scatter you like chaff driven by the desert wind. This is your lot, the portion I have decreed for you,” declares the LORD, “because you have forgotten me and trusted in false gods.”

Ps 4:2 “How long, O men, will you turn my glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?”

Ps 40:4 Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods.


You need to choose who you are going to serve – just as Elijah reminded the people of Israel (1 Kings 18:21).

How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.


Give up your man-made gods and serve the true and living God today:

Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD. (Joshua 24:14-15)




NOTE 3: The European Space Agency/ NASA SOHO, captured this image of a gigantic coronal hole hovering over the sun’s north pole.

NOTE 4: Illustration from " ">

NOTE 5: Illustration by Basil Wolverton (1909–1978) " bwapocalypse/ heat.html"> bwapocalypse/ heat.html


Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV:

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation - Used by permission. (