Let’s read those two verses. Jeremiah 16:20-21 says, “Will a man make gods for himself, Which are not gods? Therefore behold, I will this once cause them to know, I will cause them to know

My hand and My might; And they shall know that My name is the Lord.” (NKJV)

In verse 19 of this chapter, Jeremiah had just referred to the Lord as “my strength and my fortress, My refuge in the day of affliction.” Yet, Israel had turned to idols. They had made gods that were not really gods. They were only lifeless, useless idols. The psalmist wrote about the futility of these idols in Psalm 114: 4-7, “Their idols are silver and gold, The work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they do not speak; Eyes they have, but they do not see; They have ears, but they do not hear; Noses they have, but they do not smell; They have hands, but they do not handle; Feet they have, but they do not walk; Nor do they mutter through their throat.” They had made gods that were not gods. We have pointed out that these idols were fashioned after the image of men, but were lifeless. Then, in verse 8, there is a strong and serious warning, “Those who make them are like them.” Those who made these idols were as spiritually dead as their idols were physically dead.

So, in verse 21 of Jeremiah 16, the Lord declares that He will show His hand and His might. He will give proof of His divine power and sovereignty through His punishment. What an amazing act of love and mercy! To ensure that His people realize that He is the one true God, and thus turn from idols and back to Himself, He will administer needed chastening. Asaph had prayed a similar prayer concerning the Lord’s enemies in Psalm 83:17-18, “Let them be confounded and dismayed forever; Yes, let them be put to shame and perish, That they may know that You, whose name alone is the Lord, Are the Most High over all the earth.” Through His judgment of sin, the Lord would manifest His power so that “they may know.”

We have the words of the Lord in Isaiah 42:8, “I am the Lord, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another, Nor My praise to carved images.” It is a serious thing to put anything above the Lord. He does not tolerate it for His praise belongs to Him. He will not share His praise with an idol.

My friend, it is so easy to make gods out of things that are not gods. When our submission to the Lord and His Word becomes secondary to us…we have made gods. When it is more important for us to watch TV than it is to read God’s Word…we have made gods. When it is more important to sleep late that it is to gather with fellow believers on Lord’s Day…we have made gods. When it is more important to read the morning paper than it is to spend time in prayer…we have made gods. Before the Lord shows His mighty chastening hand, let us repent of these things and allow the Lord to have absolute first place in our lives. (279.8)