I use Proverbs 31 Ministries First5 app often to give me guidance as I read and study God’s Word. (I hesitate to say “for my devotions” because I recently had a very thought-provoking conversation about the concept of “devotions” or “quiet time”). Terminology aside, I find it helpful to have a reading plan and to read someone’s thoughts and commentary on a passage. This app helps me have direction. Right now, they are studying through Isaiah.
The focus yesterday was on Isaiah 44. After delivering a lot of harsh judgment on Israel, Isaiah takes time in Isaiah 43 to tell of God’s promise to save and restore His people. In Isaiah 44, he reminds his audience that God only is God and delivers a pointed message about idols.
I’m sure I have read this passage before, but what struck me as I read this time is how Isaiah has an almost sarcastic sounding tone as he talks about idols. Everything he says makes me, “Yeah, duh, that’s common sense.” But, that’s why this passage is so convicting it is COMPLETELY common sense, yet I routinely find myself elevating an idol over my King and Lord.
Here’s a summary of Isaiah’s message — rather than worshiping the True and Living God who made everything, you choose to worship idols instead. Idols. Things that you made yourself with your own two hands. You cut down a trees, use part of it for firewood, and then carve the rest of it and start praying to it. Half of the wood is cooking your food, yet somehow you think the same wood (now carved to look pretty) is magically going to hear and answer your prayer. Really? Really?
(An extremely loose paraphrase with emphasis added).
In the chapter that follows, Isaiah continues God’s message to Israel, emphasizing the power and sovereignty of God, reminding the people that they are the creation and God is the Creator, and declaring God as their ultimate Savior. Isaiah then repeats the message about idols in Chapter 46.
The message against idols wasn’t new to Israel and it’s not new to me or you, either. We know that idols are bad; we know that anything can be an idol; we know that we should worship God alone. But, if I can be completely honest with you, many times these teachings against idols have painted God as somewhat egocentric in His demand to worship Him only. We must be careful not to limit our understanding of God’s character by our human terms. Isaiah is very clear – God alone deserves our worship because He alone is responsible for the existence of everything. As Creator, He can do as He pleases, use who He pleases, and bless as He pleases. But, lest we misinterpret God’s intent, He is pleased to save, redeem, restore, and use His people.
His condemnation of idols and command for us to worship Him alone is ultimately part of how God cares for His people. When we seek fulfillment, satisfaction, or joy from anything apart from God, we willingly enter into a cycle of false expectations leading to disappointment and disillusionment. Our good God wants more for His people. He knows that He alone can bring satisfaction and joy to our souls. Not the satisfaction of getting those things we want. A deeper satisfaction that comes from being in a one-on-one intimate relationship with our Creator. Nothing on earth can satisfy that longing except for God, and nothing (and no one) on earth wants to satisfy that longing as God desires to.
As we enter a season of giving and getting and a lot of man-made stuff, let’s not forget that the ultimate satisfaction of our soul comes through the Savior we celebrate.
(This blog is not affiliated with Proverbs 31 Ministries. But, man, it would be really cool if it were. So, if anyone knows how to make that happen, comment below).