“The carpenter … makes a god, his idol; he bows down to it and worships. He prays to it and says, ‘Save me; you are my god’. They know nothing, they understand nothing; their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see, and their minds closed so they cannot understand”.
Isa 44: 13, 17, 18 NIV
We still make idols out of inanimate objects. A hobby of collecting vintage cars can be fascinating, or even collecting the models. Sports memorabilia capture the imagination of some people. Paintings too can be a worthwhile pastime. And some people pursue the auction rooms in search of a missing piece.
The prophet Isaiah was aware that the children of Israel, despite their declared contempt for the idols other nations called their gods, found a strange fascination for these forbidden gods. He went to considerable lengths to deride them, and poured great scorn both on the images thus created and on the people who made them as well as those who worshipped them. It was a real problem within the Israelite community. In Babylon, where these images screamed out at them from every street corner, the temptation was, “when in Rome do what Rome does”. Those who succumbed to the temptation did so hoping that these gods would be effective and “save them”. Isaiah made great play on them. They were all inanimate objects – nothing more than “bits of wood”.
Most people have some things they treasure. However valuable, however long they have been in the family, or whatever their artistic significance, it is good for the Christian believer to heed Isaiah’s sense of values. The Model T Ford is, after all, a few bits of tin and steel! Know and cherish Jesus. He will endure for ever!
Lord, help me to cherish the things that really matter.
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