Isaiah 44-48: The Sad Story of Idolatry

Isaiah 44:12-17 tells the sad story of idolatry:

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!”

The level of foolishness that is needed to actually bow down and worship any thing that has been created is staggering, and even more foolish is bowing down before something that you yourself have made. We might even read this passage and laugh at the thought of a man who would build an idol out of his firewood and claim it could save him. It’s ridiculous right?

But if we think we are not immune to this sort of worship, we are sadly mistaken. We do this all the time. Any time we put something in the place of honor above Jesus, we are entering this story and participating in it’s folly. We must guard against idolatry. It is foolishness, and it is deadly.

Guarding against idolatry means developing a vision of God that is so big that everything else pales in comparison. I see no other sure-fire way to do it. We must see God as most glorious, most worthy of praise, most holy, most righteous and most filled with grace. This takes time. There is no quick fix. But there is nothing more worthy of our time than to work to see Jesus as the most glorious things in the universe.

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