Wednesday, February 11, 2009

They are nothing

When the little statue of the god fell from Mtoto’s shelf, he was terrified to see that the head snapped off as it hit the floor. Sick to his stomach, Mtoto knew he had cursed himself and his family.

Should he hide the statue? He knew his father would notice that it was missing.

Mtoto sat for a long while staring at the broken clay pieces and then a thought came to him. Surely if this god could protect his family’s crops, it could heal itself.

So Mtoto carefully picked up the two parts of the broken statue and put them back on the shelf, tenderly nestling the head back onto the body. He felt excited to think that the little god would soon mend itself.

But as the days went by, and no curse came upon the family, Mtoto noticed that the crack in the statue remained.

The little god had not healed itself. Mtoto came to learn what Paul told the church in Corinth: an idol is nothing at all. (1 Cor. 8: 4)

We opened a discussion this week about a question from the Corinthian church regarding eating meat sacrificed to idols. Paul opened the discussion of idols in 1 Cor. 8:4-6.

Paul, in verse 5, referred to idols as "so-called" gods but made it clear that there was only one true God.

Other gods had no power because they did not exist. There is no God but the true God and false gods are nothing, Paul said in verse 4.

That may appear to be Paul's response to the Corinthians' question about eating meat sacrificed to false gods, but there's more still to come. We'll discuss that tomorrow.

"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." (1 Cor 8:6)

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