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Monotheism: How Does This Affect My Life?

Photo of Jon KehrerJon Kehrer | Bio

Jon Kehrer

Jon Kehrer teaches Old Testament and Biblical Languages at Ozark Christian College. He and his wife April live with their five children in Joplin, Missouri.

As we have seen (Part 1, Part 2, & Part 3), there is only one God. How does this change our lives now?

The idea of monotheism in the Old Testament may seem esoteric, boring, or stale, but few things could be more relevant to the church today. A monotheistic faith is one that claims there is only one God to worship; all other gods are frauds.

Most western cultures tend to eschew polytheism like we find in the ancient Near East, but a new kind of polytheism is at work in our day.

If a god is something you look to for hope, salvation, blessing or deliverance, then surely our culture is rife with options for worship. The gods of business, finances, religion, sports, politics, sex, and power press for our allegiance on a regular basis.

Tim Keller proposes that

“A counterfeit god is anything so central and essential to your life that, should you lose it, your life would feel hardly worth living.”[1]

Seen through this lens, surely we are flush with worship opportunities in our culture.

Perhaps the recent global pandemic has revealed some of our own counterfeit gods.

Speaking personally, I know I have found myself frustrated and dumbfounded at times that science has not been able to understand, explain, stop or cure COVID-19. Even my hopes for life returning to normal in the near future hinge on a faith in science to deliver an answer, a vaccine, or a cure.

I hear the echoes of Moses’ and Isaiah’s words even as I write: “Fear the Lord your God, serve him only!” (Deuteronomy 6:13) and “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god” (Isaiah 44:6). I know that believing science is not a sin, but perhaps my belief has moved beyond understanding to trusting.

Perhaps for you it is trust in a political party or a particular movement, your secret habits, or your growing nest egg.

Whatever the style or flavor, counterfeit gods can never deliver more than their name promises. They will always be found out.

In moments like this, perhaps it doesn’t seem so odd that Yahweh spoke to Abraham in a land where he was surrounded by other gods and asked him to take a step of faith. Biblical faith is saying yes to God, even when everything or everyone around you would seem to pull you in another direction.

The story of monotheism in the Old Testament is one of Yahweh’s relentless pursuit of relationship with his people, and that same pursuit continues today through the person of Jesus. May this reality push us closer to hearing the voice of God in our day, and may it inspire us to say yes, in full allegiance, to Him.

[1] Timothy Keller, Counterfeit Gods (New York: Penguin Books, 2011), xx.