God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

July 27 - Isaiah 44-48: The Lunacy of Idol Worship

Today’s Reading: Isaiah 44-48

The Message

English Standard Version

Thought to Guide Your Reading

Israel spends hours crafting an idol so it can deliver them from their enemies. How silly is that?

Summary in 100 Words or Less

"Israel, compare My Blessings to no-blessings from no-gods."
This is how idol worship works: a man shapes a piece of wood from a tree; burns some of the tree to cook a meal; and then prays to the stick of wood!
"Remember what I've done," God calls sweetly. "Which helped you escape Egypt: wood or the god of your ancestors? Your no-gods are "with" you because they can't move!
"Babylon, you were to discipline My Chosen People but you exploited them. Your reward will come. Good luck finding luck.
"Judah, you are here because I am longsuffering. Listen and learn."

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

Animism boggles God's mind.

Of course, God is the Creator of the universe. Anything people use to create idols and/or gods was created by Him. He mocks them by showing how silly they are for thinking these pieces of wood would protect them. How silly, right? We wouldn't do anything like that, right? Aren't we lucky not to believe in spirits who require us to do the exact right thing at the exact right time to get what we want? Maybe I should go and knock on wood to make sure my karma is in check.
So we do have silly beliefs, too. We do not call it "idol worship" or "animism" per se, but we do speak of things like luck and superstitions. Why do we do this? Maybe it is because we cannot see God and so we substitute other causes behind our outcomes. Either way, God's Chosen People do not rely on "spirits" or "luck" or put their faith in items to bring good fortune. We rely on the source of our spirit and the Creator to bring good fortune.

God wants us to compare Him to other things taking our allegiance, not follow Him blindly.

God never tells us to blindly follow Him. He wants His Chosen People to put their entire faith in His Way but part of that is allowing them to see the so-called competition. If they realize their "no-gods" are nothing but carvings in wood animated only in their hopes and dreams then they will be reminded to return to God. Test those who want your allegiance. Do they bless more than God? He realizes no other suitor could match His Blessings and Mercy. Go on, He'll still be there when you realize His awesomeness.

Things created do not complain to their creator.

We love to second-guess God. If we were in charge, the Canaanites would have lived; Israel would have been a better country with freedom instead of law; etc. However, nothing looks back on its creator and says, "I could have done that better," except humans. How ironic that the highest and greatest part of God's creation looks back at their creator and exclaims, "I don't need you. I'm better than that now."

God works behind the scenes but is open for all to see.

One of the reasons faith in God is so difficult is that we do not get the full-page banner ads or amazing, "Look at me!" spectacles to see God's work. God works within, using His Creation for His purposes. In a scientific age, this is seen as superstitious. Unfortunately, God's Works are often mistaken for self strength or attributed to animist gods. God's Work sets up everything that exists and works today. Give praise and credit to Him, not yourself or some no-god.
At the same time, we do not need to search for God in some dark, secluded place. There is no need to sail across the ocean, climb tall mountains, or descend dangerous caves. God is everywhere and can be seen by all, if they desire to seek Him.

Babylon did not obey God's orders.

Similar to Isaiah's earlier complaint against Babylon and Assyria, they took their power from God and claimed it for themselves. Unfortunately for them both God would punish Babylon and Assyria, too.

If you wish to be God's Chosen People, you must act like God's Holy People.

God set Israel aside from the entire world for them to be lighthouses to the nations. They were to do this by being holier than the nations around them. Cultural isolation would prevent bad influences. Instead, Judah imitated those around them. Therefore, they had their special-nation status revoked by God. If we wish to be God's Chosen People living under His Love and Mercy, we must live lives worthy of that calling. If not, we will find ourselves, our churches, and our nation removed from their place in God setting all things right.

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