I always get a kick when I read about idolatry. God – through Isaiah – almost humorously shows us the stupidity with which we look to other “gods” for our needs.
Check out this passage about the construction of an idol, for example:
The craftsman strengthens the goldsmith,
and he who smooths with the hammer him who strikes the anvil,
saying of the soldering, “It is good”;
and they strengthen it with nails so that it cannot be moved.
(Isaiah 41:7 ESV)
An idol must be strengthened so it cannot be moved or as the NCV says it, “so it can’t fall over.”
These folks put faith in an idol that will topple over without an extra nail?
Contrast that with what God says to His people Israel:
…I have chosen you and not cast you off;
fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
(Isaiah 41:9b-10 ESV)
We don’t strengthen our God so that He can stand up.
No, He strengthens us so that we can stand up. And He does it with is “righteous right hand.” No nails required (at least none for us).
Later through Isaiah, God puts the nail in any argument about why they (Israel) and we (today) put any faith in our idols – accomplishment, love, position, family, money, friends – whatever we look to for life:
But when I look [at these idols], there is no one;
among these there is no counselor
who, when I ask, gives an answer.
Behold, they are all a delusion;
their works are nothing;
their metal images are empty wind.
(Isaiah 41:28-29 ESV)
Of course God says:
I am the LORD; that is my name;
my glory I give to no other,
nor my praise to carved idols.
(Isaiah 42:8 ESV)
What we often fail to realize is this: God is not only jealous for His name, His glory – although that is enough.
God is jealous for our worship in part because He knows what is best for us. He knows that when we turn to idols to fill us, to save us, we turn to delusions, empty wind, metal that topples over without a nail.
Our God’s jealousy springs from love: for the glory of the Trinity and for the good of His people.
And our God’s jealousy sent Jesus to the wooden post where nails kept Him upright until the penalty for our sin was paid, until we could once more find fulfillment in relationship with our God.
Today’s Readings: Isaiah 41:1-42:25, Psalm 109:26-31, Proverbs 26:3-4, Galatians 3:1-4:7. See About for what I’m up to with these daily posts. Your daily blogger, Holiday Longing (Reproduce with permission only)