“A certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Diana, brought no small profit to the craftsmen” (Acts 19:24).

Counterfeiting is a crime involving the manufacturing or distribution of goods under another person’s name or company and without the permission of that person or company. Such goods are typically made from lower-quality materials in an effort to sell a cheap imitation of brands that consumers trust. Counterfeiting is big business. In 2013, the Department of Homeland Security seized counterfeited goods at U.S. borders worth $1.7 billion. Common goods that are copied include clothing, music, software, medications, cigarettes, automobile parts, toys, and electronics.

So why should anyone care about counterfeiting? First of all, items you purchase might be substandard and put your health or safety at risk. Second, buying from a counterfeiting website might put you at risk for identify theft. Third, not only is counterfeiting illegal but it often supports forced labour, child labour, and organized crime. If you’re shopping and see a price of product that is too good to be true, it probably is.

Demetrius was bringing in lots of cash over the sale of silver shrines to represent the goddess Diana in the city of Ephesus. When the apostle Paul preached that gods made by the hands of humans are not gods at all, that there is only one God and Creator, it hurt the silversmith’s business. He angrily called together other craftsmen in town and started a riot that led the city into an uproar. The wild crowd would have torn Paul to pieces, but wise friends told the apostle to stay away.

Paul rightfully spoke against these counterfeit gods at other times. In Lystra he warned the people to “turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them” (Acts 14:15). God is the Creator of all things and when people make gods of anything on this earth, they are only being fooled by a counterfeit.

Dear Jesus, You are the one and only true God of the universe. I choose to worship You alone.

For Further Study: Acts 19:21–41; Habakkuk 2:18; 1 Corinthians 8:4

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