“Those who make idols will all be ashamed; all of them will be disgraced. But Israel is saved by the Lord”.
Isa 45:16, 17 GNB
Some religions still use physical and material representations of their gods. The devotees of these faiths exercise great veneration towards these images and understand them to have considerable power and influence upon their lives.
No doubt Isaiah and the Israelite community in Babylon saw this kind of veneration all around them. And also they would have had numerous curious questions to answer from their Babylonian neighbours about their God – invisible as he was. In addition he had failed to save them from defeat by the Babylonians – so, they might well have been asked, “What is the point in your faith? Your God is invisible and incapable”. It is against this background that we have to hear Isaiah’s message and consider his much-repeated indictment of “idols”. The big difference with the “real God” is the salvation he enables.
For Isaiah that salvation was the return of the exiles and the exaltation of their God. Christ showed an immensely different kind of salvation. For Christians salvation is the impact of Christ on their lives, bringing joy, release from sin, a new and improved way of seeing the world and his constant companionship. It leads to the infusion into their lives of God’s own kind of holy love and the enjoyment of some of the gifts of the Spirit in their discipleship. Knowing the Holy Spirit means they can worship with joy, not out of dull duty, and that now other people become meaningful to them. They have a mission in life as well as a fellowship of like-minded people all focusing on Jesus. For them salvation is eternal life.
PRAYER THOUGHT Lord, thank you for the salvation you have given me.