“You thought that I was altogether like you” (Psalm 50:21).
The psalmist identifies the greatest sin of humanity – idolatry. Idolatry is turning God the Creator into God the created. It is men and women creating God in the image of humanity – limited in all ways, angry, arrogant, impatient, jealous, and so on. Estrangement from God over time due to rebellion from Him lends to people viewing the created order as somehow resembling the image of God. The psalmist claims that this estrangement begins in the mind with disordered thoughts. It is natural for us to think this way in our rebellion from God. In fact, the greater the distance humanity is from God, the more individuals shake off the truth of God and form Him into the image of the creature. Idolatry has no bounds in its creativity. It takes that which exist in the created order and converts it into a god. In doing so, certain consequences occur.
Love turns into hatred, and embracing God becomes rejection. Raising up other gods demonstrates hatred for God’s instruction, especially the first of the 10 Commandments,
“You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3).
This instruction is not simply something in writing but the instruction of humanity’s design – created in the image of God. If men and women are created in God’s image, then we bear the image of the one and only true God. No other gods exist, for they are fictions risen from the minds of individuals. Since God is righteous (50:6), His imprint of righteousness is on everyone. It is an objective imprint that God stamps as good because it is the essence of His being and character; that is, He is internally consistent and faithful with all He is. God is good and love and righteousness and truth. Therefore, there is an objective good and rightness, and it resides in God.
Just as we create gods from that which exists in the created order, we think we can create our own good and rightness and make it our own truth. When each person does this, goodness and rightness multiply by as many people that exist, and each person does what it right in one’s own eyes. We develop our own “truth” after we have rejected God and the truth that He is. We view ourselves righteous in our own eyes and claim, “Your truth may not be the same as my truth” and live in that fantasy world. This is one of the major consequences of rejecting God’s instruction. We take a path contrary to the way God created us – His design for our lives. The world is a sad commentary of everyone doing what is right in one’s eyes. Paul the Apostle gives a list of consequences that results from this action:
“Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies †among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful” (Romans 1:22-29).
The above is a vicious cycle of destruction, a destruction arising from a lie and rejection of the one true God.
However, the psalmist claims another way,
“Whoever offers praise glorifies Me; And to him who orders his conduct aright I will show the salvation of God” (Psalm 50:23).
Praising God turns negatives and the cycle of destruction into life – eternal life. Praise accepts God and His way for us. It returns the good and brings order back to us. God restores that good within us by faith in Him in recognizing Him as both God the Creator and Redeemer and rejects a god created in the image of a replica that exist in our minds.