The fallacy of idolatry

Isa. 44:9-21, “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?” 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.”  It is easy to look at those verses and pretend they do not apply to us.  Most of us do not cut down a tree and use the wood to warm ourselves and make food before taking a piece of it and carving an idol.  We also do not fashion one from precious metals and fall down before it.  We know that is a ridiculous notion and probably scoff at such “idiotic” ideas, but does that mean we are exempt from practicing idolatry?  We may not create them from scratch, but we have our own, and even worse, we take the creations of God and make them our idols.  We make those in His image – actors, singers, sports personalities, models, and leaders the objects of our worship.

We revere them and take their word as fact without ever investigating its reliability.  We fashion ourselves after them and imitate them in a vain attempt to be their likeness.  We want to be them.  We adore them and live under the illusion that they care about us above the fame and fortune we bring them.  When we struggle with the trials of life, we turn to their movies, their songs, their motivational quotes, and whatever else they spout to help us overcome grief and despair.  We think they can “save” us – and that is the fallacy of idolatry.  The temporary relief they give us has dangers attached to it.  Our attraction to them draws us like a vile magnet from the arms of God and deposits us into the snares of the evil one.  They are of no lasting value to us.  They will fade away, and we will have to find a new idol to take their place because they are temporal at best.  You are not important to them, and they will forget you in time.

Hear the words of v.21 again, “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.”  Only one God can save you; only one God can mend a scarred human being or a broken heart;  only one God loves you so much that He was willing to sacrifice His only son to give you a chance to grasp everlasting life.  Only one God is eternal – Rev. 1:8, “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”


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