The idols of the nations are silver and gold, The work of men’s hands.
They have mouths, but they speak not; Eyes have they, but they see not; They have ears, but they hear not; Neither is there any breath in their mouths.
They that make them shall be like unto them; Yea, every one that trusteth in them.Psalms 135:15-18 ASV
Despite the fact of these words being a quotation from Psalms 115, they are especially appropriate here in order to set in sharp contrast the omnipotence of the Lord and the uselessness of idols.
The whole ancient world, at the time of this psalm, was worshipping and praising pagan idols.
These verses occur also in Psalms 115:4-8, above, where we devoted several pages to a discussion of what is written here.
This is one of the classic passages in the Old Testament regarding idols. It ranks along with passages in Isaiah 40; Isaiah 42; and Isaiah 44 and is repeated verbatim in Psalms 135:15-18.
Among the most intellectual pagans, that distinction was probably made.
Indeed, Israel attempted to use it when they made the golden calf, affirming that it was the same as the God, “who brought them up out of Egypt (Exodus 32:4,11).”
The psalmist here probably knew from his own experience, how little was the distinction made by the heathen worshipper between the symbol and the thing symbolized.
The widespread lack of information concerning the entire subject of idols and the consecration of sacred images, which to all intents and purposes are indeed no different from ancient pagan idols, is pitiful indeed.
The essential evil in all idols (and images) is that any symbolism ascribed to them is a falsehood.
How can that which is material represent that which is spiritual? How can that which is helpless represent omnipotence?
How can that which decays represent life eternal?
How can that which is not intelligent represent omniscience?
How can that which is dumb, blind, unfeeling, deaf and dead represent any of the vital realities of God and his holy religion?
There is abundant proof that the heathen did indeed trust their idols, as revealed by Herodotus, 5:80 and VIII: 64,83.
Thus, the assumption of the psalmist here” that the heathen were actually worshipping idols, as contrasted with what they were supposed to represent, is altogether true.
“They that make them shall be like unto them … yea, every one that trusteth in them.”
This imprecation applies not only to the craftsmen who made the idols, but to those who employed them, and is extended in the climax, to all idolaters, every one that trusteth in them.
Regarding all idols and sacred images, even those in nominal Christian churches, there are several divine prohibitions.
It is a sin:
(1) to make them;
(2) serve them;
(3) or even to bow down in front of them; and
(4) of course, a sin to worship them.