Friday, June 12, 2009

A God With Power

Isaiah 44:19-22
(19) No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, "Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals; I roasted meat and have eaten. And shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?"
(20) He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, "Is there not a lie in my right hand?"
(21) Remember these things, O Jacob, and Israel, for you are my servant; I formed you; you are my servant; O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me.
(22) I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you.

This is a repeated theme in the prophets. Men make gods from their own hands out of wood, and yet they use other parts of the same tree to cook dinner. Why should we fall down before something that we have made?

On the other hand, God made us. He also made the wood that these men worship. He made everything and then He went to all the trouble of redeeming us. Man cannot deliver himself, but he needs God to do it.

Don't get too literal with this passage either. We all have idols even if we're not necessarily carving them from a tree. The point here is not to worship created things that have no real lasting power. Personally, I'd really like an iPhone or an iPod Touch. I don't need one, but it would be cool to have one. It can easily become an idol to me. I have a friend who recently acquired a van for his family. They desperately needed one. It's fun to get a new vehicle. But he is wisely on guard against making it into an idol.

I am not advocating asceticism here. I just want to make sure that we are all steering clear of idols. There's a reason why 1 John ends the way it does. Idolatry is the root of all our troubles.

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