On Idol Worship – Isaiah 44

Idol Worship - Isaiah 44In today’s chapter God, through the prophet Isaiah, delivers a very interesting discussion about idol worship (I like the NLT version):

9 How foolish are those who manufacture idols to be their gods. These highly valued objects are really worthless. They themselves are witnesses that this is so, for their idols neither see nor know. No wonder those who worship them are put to shame. 10 Who but a fool would make his own god – an idol that cannot help him one bit! 11 All who worship idols will stand before the LORD in shame, along with all these craftsmen – mere humans – who claim they can make a god. Together they will stand in terror and shame. 12 The blacksmith stands at his forge to make a sharp tool, pounding and shaping it with all his might. His work makes him hungry and thirsty, weak and faint. 13 Then the wood-carver measures and marks out a block of wood, takes the tool, and carves the figure of a man. Now he has a wonderful idol that cannot even move from where it is placed! 14 He cuts down cedars; he selects the cypress and the oak; he plants the cedar in the forest to be nourished by the rain. 15 And after his care, he uses part of the wood to make a fire to warm himself and bake his bread. Then – yes, it’s true – he takes the rest of it and makes himself a god for people to worship! He makes an idol and bows down and praises it! 16 He burns part of the tree to roast his meat and to keep himself warm. 17 Then he takes what’s left and makes his god: a carved idol! He falls down in front of it, worshiping and praying to it. “Rescue me!” he says. “You are my god!” 18 Such stupidity and ignorance! Their eyes are closed, and they cannot see. Their minds are shut, and they cannot think. 19 The person who made the idol never stops to reflect, “Why, it’s just a block of wood! I burned half of it for heat and used it to bake my bread and roast my meat. How can the rest of it be a god? Should I bow down to worship a chunk of wood?” 20 The poor, deluded fool feeds on ashes. He is trusting something that can give him no help at all. Yet he cannot bring himself to ask, “Is this thing, this idol that I’m holding in my hand, a lie?”

Seems so senseless, doesn’t it? Why would a thinking human being take a block of wood or piece of metal, shape it into the form of a man, then bow down and worship it? It can’t see or hear, it has no thoughts, it is only a lump of wood or metal. It can’t help meet needs, forgive sin or protect anything. Yet, why did so many in those days fall into this forbidden (see the Ten Commandments) practice?

Perhaps for the same reason we do today. What? Who makes idols and worships them? Well, just look at what we spend our t-i-m-e, talent and treasure on. Do you know people who spend all their time at work, bowing down to the pursuit of money? Do you know people who spend all their money on “stuff” or on women or wine? As they do, they expect happiness, satisfaction or pleasure.

But, just like the idols of Isaiah’s message, these things cannot provide any of that. Only God, the one true God, can provide what we really want – significance, value and legacy. Significance from the creator of the Universe living inside us, guiding and directing us. Value because we’ve been forgiven our sins and we have been made new by Jesus’ blood. Legacy because as we live out our lives for Christ, He makes a difference in those around us – our families and friends – and they pass on the legacy of Christ.

Only God can do all that. God says it Himself in this passage:

21 “Pay attention, O Israel, for you are my servant. I, the LORD, made you, and I will not forget to help you. 22 I have swept away your sins like the morning mists. I have scattered your offenses like the clouds. Oh, return to me, for I have paid the price to set you free.”

Thank You for setting us free, Lord. Use us to make a difference in the lives of those who only know to seek treasure that fades away.


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