I was reading the Message Bible the other day and came across Isaiah 44:13-20. It rang true and I thought I’d share it today.
Isaiah 44:13-20 says, “The woodworker draws up plans for his no-god, traces it on a block of wood. He shapes it with chisels and planes into human shape—a beautiful woman, a handsome man, ready to be placed in a chapel. He first cuts down a cedar, or maybe picks out a pine or oak, and lets it grow strong in the forest, nourished by the rain. Then it can serve a double purpose: Part he uses as firewood for keeping warm and baking bread; from the other part he makes a god that he worships—carves it into a god shape and prays before it. With half he makes a fire to warm himself and barbecue his supper. He eats his fill and sits back satisfied with his stomach full and his feet warmed by the fire: "Ah, this is the life." And he still has half left for a god, made to his personal design—a handy, convenient no-god to worship whenever so inclined. Whenever the need strikes him he prays to it, "Save me. You're my god." Pretty stupid, wouldn't you say? Don't they have eyes in their heads? Are their brains working at all? Doesn't it occur to them to say, "Half of this tree I used for firewood: I baked bread, roasted meat, and enjoyed a good meal. And now I've used the rest to make an abominable no-god. Here I am praying to a stick of wood!" This lover of emptiness, of nothing, is so out of touch with reality, so far gone, that he can't even look at what he's doing, can't even look at the no-god stick of wood in his hand and say, "This is crazy."
Most people probably don’t make idols out of a tree today. Most of us know that one of the 10 commandments is “Thou Shall Not Have any other gods before me.” (Ex 20:3) But as I was reading this scripture and laughing at the sarcasm of the story it occurred to me that today, thousands of years after the book Isaiah was written, we are still doing this today in our culture.
While we may not be cutting down a tree, how about money? We turn money into our baby gods all the time. We work hard for it. Buy stuff with it, worship it in subtle ways and then wonder why it can’t save us in times of trouble. This very concept is part of the reason America’s financial institutions are in the trouble their in. Because we’ve made money into our god. So many people are still wondering why it’s not saving them. Don’t get me wrong money is an awesome tool, and we need it. But we can’t worship it, or the things that it will buy.
Sometimes we may not be worshipping money but subtly we can be worshipping fear. I’ve talked too many over the years that treat fear just like the woodworker did the wood. They feed that fear and it gets bigger and bigger. It’s like they put that fear on the shelf of their lives and are constantly living as if it was their god. 2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV) says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
While many times we’re not purposing in our hearts to put things before God, it’s so easy to do just that. Idols cannot save us. Your life has room for only one god. There is a throne in your heart and unless Jesus Christ is firmly seated there you are off. Nothing can come close to Jesus. He saves us. He delivers us. He heals you. I have news for you. Money can’t save you. Fear is just going to leave you broken and bound. Only Jesus will bring freedom.
I want to leave you all with this thought today. What is truly on the throne of your heart? Is it Jesus or something else? Are you acting like that foolish woodcutter in Isaiah fashioning your god in the image you want, or are you yielding to God the maker of the universe? You can play the part of a Christian. You can pretend that all is well and deep down your worshipping other things. Please check yourself today. Don’t role play with God. Give Him your life. Trust in Him.