One of my favorite Johnny Cash songs is “One Piece at a Time,” the story about a man working at the Cadillac plant who builds himself a brand new Cadillac by smuggling one piece at a time out of the plant for years. When it’s finished, it’s ugly, and takes several books just to fill out the registration! My kids and I laugh every time we hear it come across my playlist. The thing is, though, as funny as the song is, it’s just not practical. With updates to Cadillac from the 50’s to the 70’s, the parts would just be incompatible! The sad part is, though, is that this song is pretty true to life, when you think about it.
Philosophically and religiously, people do just what Johnny Cash did in the song. They piece together their world view based upon what sounds best to them, and their lifestyles are fairly inconsistent. I have many friends (some of you may be reading this) who want to honor God in one breath, and then go to some other astrology, philosophy, or religion in another. When asked, it’s your definition of God, and not any clear cut religious outlook (and I know, some say, “well the religions get it wrong!”). This is flawed thinking from the outset. Why? Because, like Johnny Cash’s Cadillac, you’re building a god for yourself. You’re inventing god (note the small “g”) by piecing together anything that sounds good to you, and I’ll let you know, after a while, that car will stop running. The pieces don’t fit together neatly. It’s a mess, and you can’t discover the true and living God by picking and choosing what you want.
Either God is above you, a God of complete justice, mercy and love (And yes, Justice is key), and He must hold His creation into account, or your god is no god at all. We either must follow the True and Living God, or we’re following a lie (a partial truth, or even a mostly true thing is still a lie), and the only one we’re fooling is ourselves. We can’t have it our own way. There is only one truth, and I’m dedicated to finding it, and I pray you genuinely do as well!
Praise the LORD! Praise the name of the LORD, give praise, O servants of the LORD, who stand in the house of the LORD, in the courts of the house of our God! Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; sing to his name, for it is pleasant! For the LORD has chosen Jacob for himself, Israel as his own possession.
For I know that the LORD is great, and that our Lord is above all gods. Whatever the LORD pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth, who makes lightnings for the rain and brings forth the wind from his storehouses.
He it was who struck down the firstborn of Egypt, both of man and of beast; who in your midst, O Egypt, sent signs and wonders against Pharaoh and all his servants; who struck down many nations and killed mighty kings, Sihon, king of the Amorites, and Og, king of Bashan, and all the kingdoms of Canaan, and gave their land as a heritage, a heritage to his people Israel.
Your name, O LORD, endures forever, your renown, O LORD, throughout all ages. For the LORD will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants.
The idols of the nations are silver and gold, the work of human hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; they have eyes, but do not see; they have ears, but do not hear, nor is there any breath in their mouths. Those who make them become like them, so do all who trust in them.
O house of Israel, bless the LORD! O house of Aaron, bless the LORD! O house of Levi, bless the LORD! You who fear the LORD, bless the LORD! Blessed be the LORD from Zion, he who dwells in Jerusalem! Praise the LORD!