Falling Down Before a Piece of Wood…

June 25, 2011 at 11:40 AM

I have been reading through Isaiah and this morning, Chapters 43 and 44 were on the schedule.  What is interesting to me is how God takes the time to fully explain Himself, His positions, as well as the ironic ways that humans often see the world.

Isaiah 44 speaks about – among other things – idolatry.  Verses 6 – 8 clearly lay the foundation for God’s argument that follows.

“‘I am the first and I am the last,
And there is no God besides Me.
7 ‘Who is like Me? Let him proclaim and declare it;
Yes, let him recount it to Me in order,
From the time that I established the ancient nation.
And let them declare to them the things that are coming
And the events that are going to take place.
8 ‘Do not tremble and do not be afraid;
Have I not long since announced it to you and declared it?
And you are My witnesses.
Is there any God besides Me,
Or is there any other Rock?
I know of none.’”

Well?  Any takers?  Bueller?

You have to appreciate the fact that God is so straightforward.  Here, He states clearly that there is no God besides Him.  None.  Nada.  Zilch.  Zippo.  Some by the way, use this to “prove” that Jesus is not God.  Just the opposite.  It proves He is God, since He also states that “I and my Father are One.” (John 10:30) as well as other things.  The fascinating thing is that the Bible is a unit and therefore, should be allowed to interpret itself.  Many try, but they seem to do a half-baked job at best.  That’s another blog though.

For now, I want to continue with Isaiah 44.  After God boldly claims that there is no other god besides Him, He then moves onto scenarios in which people find themselves.  The irony of those situations is that these people do not realize their own stupidity.

Verse 9 tells us, “Those who fashion a graven image are all of them futile, and their precious things are of no profit; even their own witnesses fail to see or know, so that they will be put to shame.”  Amazing, isn’t it?  What people fail to see is that either they – or some craftsperson – create an image that people worship.  The image has no value, except the inherent value of the material itself.  Those graven images can do absolutely nothing for the person, yet people routinely believe that they can.

If you take the time to do even a cursory search across the ‘Net, you will find a plethora of places that sell crystals and other “healing” products.  You can purchase crystal jewelry, crystal beads, crystals by location, by material, by size or shape, and by color.  You can shop at Wicca stores where you may purchase any number of items that are designed to help you overcome aspects of life that you find troubling.  Of course, Tarot Cards are always there to help you understand all the mysteries of life too.

People deliberately place their faith in these things, but God says – in verse 9 – that these things have no value to help.  They are futile and essentially worthless.  In the end, the person who trusts in those things will be put to shame.  Imagine the people in hell who will spent eternity kicking themselves for their stupidity when they placed faith in some graven image.

Probably the saddest part of this entire chapter of Isaiah is toward the end, when God takes pains to explain how a man will buy a piece of wood and use part of it for a fire in his hearth.  There, he will bake bread to feed himself.  With the other part of the same piece of wood, he will craft an image that he can worship.  Is this not insane?

I absolutely love the way God makes this so brutally clear in verses 16 – 17.  “Half of it he burns in the fire; over this half he eats meat as he roasts a roast and is satisfied. He also warms himself and says, “Aha! I am warm, I have seen the fire.” 17 But the rest of it he makes into a god, his graven image. He falls down before it and worships; he also prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god.”

Is this asinine or what?  We read this and think of an idiot savant who cannot distinguish truth from error.  From the same piece of wood, a man cooks his food and creates a god.  How absurd is that?  When he finishes eating, he turns to the other part of the same piece of wood and announces that IT (the wood) is his god!  How ludicrous, yet here we are in 2011 and we do the exact same thing!

We have crystals hanging from our rear-view mirrors, we carry them around our necks, or wrists, and we place our trust in them to save us, or to protect us.  How many people do you know that carry a “good luck” charm?  If they lose it, they are beside themselves with worry because they have lost their protection!

The person who creates or purchases something that he/she can put his/her faith in is summed up by God in verses 19-20 of Isaiah 44.  “No one recalls, nor is there knowledge or understanding to say, “I have burned half of it in the fire and also have baked bread over its coals. I roast meat and eat it. Then I make the rest of it into an abomination, I fall down before a block of wood!” 20 He feeds on ashes; a deceived heart has turned him aside. And he cannot deliver himself, nor say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?

So in spite of the fact that the person in the above scenario understands that he took a piece of wood, used half of it to cook his food and used the remaining half to create a god to worship, this same person seems completely unaware of the fact that he has created his own god, which started off as a piece of wood that baked his bread!  In fact, it remained a piece of wood.  It never changed from being a piece of wood to something else.  He (or a craftsperson) simply changed what the wood looked like outwardly, but that did nothing to change the fact that it was and remains a piece of wood.

The man never stopped to say to himself, “Hey wait a minute.  I took part of this piece of wood and cooked my food.  I then took the other part and created a god I worship.  What is wrong with this picture?”  The man never stopped to realize what he was doing.  Had he done so, he likely would have said something like, “This is ridiculous!  How can the same piece of wood be used for cooking and to become my god?

I appreciate the last question in the quoted verses above:  Is there not a lie in my right hand?  No one gets to that point though, do we?  Think of the situation with Paul in Acts 17.  Beginning in verse 16, we read of Paul’s view of Athens and how disheartened he became because of all the idolatry.  You’ll recall that this is where Paul presented his sermon on Mars Hill, calling attention to the fact that these people even had an idol dedicated to the “unknown” god.  Paul used that as his introduction to point to Jesus, who was unknown to them.

How about the situation recorded in Acts 19, where Paul heads to Ephesus and because of his preaching, not only were many saved, but these saved individuals took their charms, their idols, their magic books, and everything connected with them and burned them in front of everyone.  While Paul was there, not only did he preach the gospel, but people were healed and demons were cast out.

I think the part about the Seven Sons of Sceva is very interesting.  These guys had seen Paul casting out demons and healing the sick.  They thought, “Hey, that’s cool.  We haven’t tried casting out demons in Jesus’ Name before.  Let’s give that a shot!”  So they did and were met with heavy resistance from the demon.

In fact, the text specifically states (when they tried casting out demons like Paul did), “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” (v. 15).  You have to love that!  These demons actually knew Jesus (of course, since He was/is God!), and they had heard about Paul (proof that neither demons or Satan can be everywhere at once) – I guess news travels among the demonic hordes – but they had no clue about these seven guys!  One thing the demon did know was that these seven brothers had no power or ability over it and it was going to prove that point.  The demon did, leaving the brothers bleeding, wounded, and naked as they fled the house where the possessed man lived.  Interestingly, the text tells us that it was one demon (“the evil spirit”).

Of course, when the people of Ephesus in Acts 19 burned all their magic books and idols, the craftsmen – led by Demetrius – became upset because they saw their livelihood going down the drain.  They got together and protested in anger and this created a problem for Paul.

People want to protect their businesses and imagine if the average person did not believe in the idols of today.  There would be far fewer New Age bookstores selling their wares.

In Isaiah 44, God is speaking to Israel.  He is warning them that they must put aside the idols that they have faith in and turn unreservedly to Him, the only God.  During this chapter, God announces how much He loves Israel and how He has forgiven them and how they will one day realize the honor of being part of Israel.

Verse 5 tells us this future picture of Jews who will love being part of the nation that God created.  As His Remnant of the future, they will delight in that honor.  “This one will say, ‘I am the LORD’S’; And that one will call on the name of Jacob; And another will write on his hand, ‘Belonging to the LORD,’
And will name Israel’s name with honor.”

Generally, I’m against tattoos, however, if I were Jewish and a believer, I might make an exception.  I would find it a considerable honor to tattoo the phrase “Belonging to the LORD” somewhere on my right hand.

I marvel at how Isaiah mixes the past with the future.  God is constantly comparing and contrasting Israel of old with the purified Israel of the future.  The Israel of old is the Israel that worshiped anything to gain something, in spite of the reality that no idol ever did anything good for them.

The Israel of the future is the Israel that exists during the Millennial reign of Jesus.  They will serve Him gladly and the other nations that are to be included in this Millennial Kingdom will yearn to attach themselves to Jews, unlike today, where Jews are defamed at every turn, even by other Jews.

Idols can do nothing good for a person.  Yet, we see a growing movement within society that endeavors to enhance idolatry, bringing it in the mainstream.

There are strands of the Emergent Church that are aligning itself with aspects of idolatry.  They use prayer beads, or crystals as a “help” in prayer, but in reality, all they are doing is crossing the line from worshiping God, to trusting idols.

The truth is that many within Christendom today are changing the way they look at the Bible, at God, and the gospel.  Those within the Emergent Church (which is really the secular New Age cloned in religious garb), have manufactured a type of idolatrous “Christianity” that allows them to use their idols of choice, while continuing to believe that they are practicing Christianity.

However, from God’s Word there can be no doubt that idolatry is anathema to God.  It doesn’t matter if it is simply a “good luck” charm, or a full-blown crystal hanging around our neck.  The end result is that the use of crystals is nothing more than idolatry.

As Christians, we certainly need to take the time to assess our lives.  What are we treating as if it was an idol?  What are we substituting for God, which of course, is no substitute at all, except in our minds?

If we have idols in our life, we are no better off than the person in Isaiah 44 who falls down before a piece of wood.  While nothing good will come of it, plenty of bad will.

Our world is on the fast track toward one-worldism.  A growing global movement is underway to become united as one people, with one person who will lead us.  This is no time for Christians to have any idols in their life.  All must be surrendered to God.  Maybe as a reminder, it might be a good idea to carry a card with the phrase “Belonging to the LORD” on it.  This at least will help us remember that we no longer belong to ourselves.

If the Lord is going to protect us and provide for us in the coming days, it is extremely important that nothing in our life is kept from Him.  We must surrender all things – including anything that can even be construed as an idol – in order that He will have His full sway in and over our lives.  This should be done for no other reason than for His glory.

I don’t want to ever hear God say of me, “He feeds on ashes; a deceived heart has turned him aside. And he cannot deliver himself, nor say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?”  Do you?

Entry filed under: 9/11, alienology, Atheism and religion, Barack Hussein Obama, Barry Sotero, Communism, Demonic, dispensationalism, Eastern Mysticism, emergent church, Gun Control, Islam, Islamofascism, israel, Judaism, Life in America, Maitreya, new age movement, Posttribulational Rapture, Pretribulational Rapture, Radical Islam, rapture, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation, Satanism, second coming, Sharia Law, Socialism, temple mount, ufology. Tags: , , , .

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