From Isaiah on the making of idols, and worshipping those idols in general. Apparently all of human history has been the same in this regard. We make “things” with our own hands and ingenuity, then bow down to worship those things as though they were greater than we who made them. All while forgetting the God who made us.
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. 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. We toil with our hands, manipulate the materials made available to us in God’s good creation, then bow down and worship the things we created ourselves. Here it says the carpenter would fashion a piece of wood to look like a man, which would go into a man’s house to be worshipped by a man as though the wooden figure might have created the man??!!
All who fashion idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit. Their witnesses neither see nor know, that they may be put to shame. Who fashions a god or casts an idol that is profitable for nothing? Behold, all his companions shall be put to shame, and the craftsmen are only human. Let them all assemble, let them stand forth. They shall be terrified; they shall be put to shame together. Not going in order here, wanted to come back to this. All who fashion idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit. This is what defines modern man. We set up idol after idol to worship. Idols to give our minds, hearts, love, money and attention to. The funny thing is, we seem to intentionally create these idols with the purpose of financial gain and idol worship. This is not going to be popular of me, but I’m going to use the sports world as an example. The NBA Finals are soon to start. A game created by a man sometime in the 1800s I believe. Played by rules which can be changed with the times. Millions of people will focus on the games. As I’m sitting on my couch writing this, my wife just turned on the morning news, apparently this is the most important thing happening in the world today. We deify the game, we deify those who participate in the games. Billions after billions of dollars are poured into the hero worship of guys like LeBron James and Steph Curry, the gods of our day. Then we cry out about the salaries and earning power of these men. Why wouldn’t they be paid as they are? They are the gods we worship. We pay for tickets, for TVs and cable packages to watch them, jerseys to be identified with them. Networks keep us up to date on what’s happening in their lives. Industries are built on “participating” with their success and failure. Gambling, fantasy sports, alcohol, food and snacks.
Wasn’t really thinking about going here when I started writing but I’m here now. So, not to pick on the NBA, it’s just what’s on now. How about that great American day we set aside specifically to idol worship – Super Bowl Sunday!! The entire nation stops for this one. We spend 2 weeks directly obsessing over it, not to mention the weeks leading up to it. But really, that one day is all about the idol worship – and all for-profit. Huge economic impact, right? What’s a 30 second commercial cost? $2 million? How much money do we spend on snacks and other party “essentials”?
So many different idols we worship. Our houses, our cars, or – ourselves. Our sports heroes, our music stars, our movie and TV stars. The amount of time, money and energy we spend trying to be like all these “heroes” – the gods of the day.
Thought I was going to talk about the “things” we worship, instead wound up on the people and games we worship. Just to make a point that there is only one God to worship – the creator of the universe. We once feared scientific discovery as undermining belief in God. Now, we see that the more we discover about the world and universe we live in, the more blatantly obvious there is a powerful, brilliant creator behind it all. Yet, somehow, the worship of the one true God, the creator of the universe, gets more and more lost in the shuffle. Even for those of us who do believe, and act on that belief, worship and love of God almost always is reduced to that which is convenient. An afterthought, after all the true gods of our lives which we give priority. Priority of time. Priorities of energy. Priorities of our thoughts. Priorities of our money.
Where is God in your priorities? Is he even ONE of your priorities. Not number one, just on the list? If He is on the list, where on the list does He fall? “”I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” Exodus 20:2-6 ESV. No other Gods before me. Not throwing stones here, I’m in on this too. Where is God on my priority list? Far from number one I think.
“All who fashion idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit. Their witnesses neither see nor know, that they may be put to shame. Who fashions a god or casts an idol that is profitable for nothing? Behold, all his companions shall be put to shame, and the craftsmen are only human. Let them all assemble, let them stand forth. They shall be terrified; they shall be put to shame together. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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!” 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!” They know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand. 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?” 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?””
Isaiah 44:9-20 ESV