Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
Throughout the history of the world, but particularly in ancient times, there have been all sorts of gods who have been worshiped and followed. In fact, I imagine that most of us were required at some point in high school or college (or both) to learn about Greek and/or Roman gods—the gods of mythology. Thus, we likely all have some exposure to these false gods.
Scripture—primarily the Old Testament—abounds in situations where a variety of gods are being worshiped. Probably the best known to us is Baal. In the ancient pagan world, Baal was believed to be the offspring of El, and to have come from the union of El and his mistress, Asherah. Asherah is one whom we also frequently hear of in the Old Testament. For what it is worth, the name ‘El’ has been the source of many an interesting discussion, since virtually every time we find the term ‘God’ (note the capital ‘G’) in our Old Testament, it comes from the word ‘elohim’ (although on occasion it is simply ‘el’). ‘Elohim’ is a plural construction of ‘el.’ And ‘el’ is a Semitic term that means ‘god’ or ‘deity.’ El was understood by his pagan worshipers to be the one who rode the clouds—the “rider of the storm.” His offspring Baal, to put it simply, was known as a god of fertility whom it was believed brought the spring rains and made the crops grow, among other things.
There is so much wrong, of course, with these false ‘gods.’ Each is terribly flawed, for instance. There is no holiness or purity in them. There is no moment when they seek the best for those who worship them. Instead, they seek only self-aggrandizement and self-satisfaction (and, to be blunt, this often manifests itself in a sexual sense). In addition, these are not ‘gods’ who approach their people, but rather who remain aloof and distant from those who purport to believe in them. They manipulate their people for their own benefit so as to maintain power and control. So it is that none of these is personal in any way, and none is truly majestic. There is no relationship to be had with them, and there is no genuine majesty. In other words, they are not true gods. In reality, they are nothing. They are false. Who would want to worship a god like that?
The God we know, the true and living God of heaven, the only God, is a God who is personal and majestic. He is real, and he is alive. He is holy and pure. He seeks only what is best for us, and he goes about that work by coming close to us. He is the God who came near. He is the God who walked the earth. He is the true bringer of the rain, and the actual rider of the clouds (Ps 104:3). He is the one who hears his people, and he is the one who is active in the world. He is the one who knows our every step, and who is always focused on what will bring us nearer to him. Our God is an awesome God. He reigns forever. Who would not want to worship a God like that?