I was reading through Isaiah last night and came to one of my favorite chapters – chapter 44. I think it is one of my favorites because it demonstrates God’s sense of humor in a somewhat-mocking fashion. Just look at verses 12-17 (ESV):
12 The ironsmith takes a cutting tool and works it over the coals. He fashions it with hammers and works it with his strong arm. He becomes hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water and is faint. 13 The carpenter stretches a line; he marks it out with a pencil. He shapes it with planes and marks it with a compass. He shapes it into the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, to dwell in a house. 14 He cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. 15 Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. 16 Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, “Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!” 17 And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!”
Whenever I read this section I can’t help but start laughing. Isaiah portrays an excellent picture of the stupidity of worshipping created things. This is especially potent when you look at how God is described in the surrounding verses:
- The One who chooses (v1)
- The Lord who formed you from the womb (2)
- Pours out His Spirit & blessing (v3)
- We are those who belong to the Lord (v5)
- The Lord, the King of Israel, the Redeemer, the Lord of Hosts (v6)
- The first, the last, no God besides Me (v6)
- Establisher of the ancient nation (v7)
- Omniscient (v7)
- The Rock (v8)
- The One who will not forget us (v21)
- Wipes away our transgressions & sins as the Redeemer (v22)
- Shows forth His glory in His people (v23)
- The Lord, Redeemer, One who formed us in the womb (v24)
- Maker of all things (v24)
- Confirms the word of His servant & performs the purpose of His messengers (v26)
- Builder of the temple (v28)
It is actually a lot more powerful to look at all those things within the verses themselves (yep…you’ll need to open up and read your Bible). It is a wonder that we would end up in idolatry with such an awesome God. Yet, I think we slip into idolatry – when we elevate something or someone to equal or greater status than God by our actions, thoughts, time, etc. What are some of the idols in your life?
Here is a list of questions from page 168 of Vintage Jesus by Mark Driscoll that may help us discover the idols in our lives:
- Who or what do I make sacrifices for?
- Who or what is most important to me?
- If I could have any thing or experience I wanted, what would that be?
- Who or what makes me the most happy?
- What is the one person or thing I could not live without?
- What do I spend my money on?
- Who or what do I devote my spare time to?