Day 269 – The Way of Idols

Wow. I thought yesterday’s passage from Isaiah said a lot about idols.

But nothing like today. There’s half a chapter describing how useless idols are – the topic of yesterday’s post. Isaiah describes in detail how an idol is built from wood, then how people turn to this man-made god for salvation. The prophet ends with this:

No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, “Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals; I roasted meat and have eaten.

And shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?”

He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?” (Isaiah 44:19-20 ESV)

I just love the sarcasm in this passage! The people of Judah expect a block of wood to save them – and they are too blind to see it!

But what blocks of wood do we turn to for salvation?

Paul discusses the same topic in the Galatians passage:

Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods.

But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?

You observe days and months and seasons and years! I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain. (Galatians 4:8-11 ESV)

Paul’s concern for the Galatians highlights the insidious nature of idolatry. We turn to idols to save us, to make life work, to find happiness, to avoid pain. We use accomplishment, love, money, family, etc., etc., and people to meet our needs.

But idols are blocks of wood that can’t deliver.

Nevertheless in our sin-deluded state, we bow down to our idols. We perform rituals to serve them: hard work, making ourselves beautiful, having children, etc., etc.  We negotiate with our idols by our works, hoping that blessings will follow.

And because sometimes our efforts seem to pay off (sometimes we feel a bit better), this intermittent reinforcement leads to addictions. We try harder and harder and harder to satisfy our idols so that they will satisfy our souls.

But idols are blocks of wood that can’t deliver.

And we become enslaved to our idols.

Who will free us? Jesus!

Because Jesus ransomed us from slavery, we are freed from sin.

And His cross-love will eventually satisfy us enough to stop turning to idols.

Oh, Lord: Give us your cross-bought freedom. Amen.


Today’s Readings: Isaiah 43:1-44:28, Psalm 110:1-7, Proverbs 26:5-9, Galatians 4:8-31. See About for what I’m up to with these daily posts. Your daily blogger, Holiday Longing (Reproduce with permission only)

2 thoughts on “Day 269 – The Way of Idols

  1. Pingback: 2017 Day 352 – Idols vs. God | Longing for a Holiday at Sea

  2. Last time I read Isaiah, I kept getting aggravated with these sarcastic remarks about idols. It felt a lot like the kind of ridicule you see in political posts. I would venture to say that those peoples who used carved figures in their worship did not really believe that the piece of wood WAS their god, but an image of the god, perhaps a special or magical image when properly blessed — kind of how (some) Christians feel about holy water, or the bread and wine of communion.

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