Devotional for

God Is Not an Idolator

John Piper

When he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. (2 Thessalonians 1:10)

People stumble over the teaching that God exalts his own glory and seeks to be praised by his people because the Bible teaches us not to be like that. For example, the Bible says that love “does not seek its own” (1 Corinthians 13:5, NASB).

How can God be loving and yet be utterly devoted to “seeking his own” glory and praise and joy? How can God be for us if he is so utterly for himself?

The answer I propose is this: Because God is unique as an all-glorious, totally self-sufficient Being, he must be for himself if he is to be for us. The rules of humility that belong to a creature cannot apply in the same way to its Creator.

If God should turn away from himself as the Source of infinite joy, he would cease to be God. He would deny the infinite worth of his own glory. He would imply that there is something more valuable outside himself. He would commit idolatry.

This would be no gain for us. For where can we go when our God has become unrighteous? Where will we find a Rock of integrity in the universe when the heart of God has ceased to value supremely the supremely valuable? Where shall we turn with our adoration when God himself has forsaken the claims of infinite worth and beauty?

No, we do not turn God’s self-exaltation into love by demanding that God cease to be God.

Instead, we must come to see that God is love precisely because he relentlessly pursues the praises of his name in the hearts of his people.

From Desiring God, page 47