creation, Creator, gold, holiness, idols, rock, silver, stability, tottering, true hope, wood, worship
A Tottering Idol
– Isaiah 40:18-20, “To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare with Him? As for the idol, a craftsman casts it, a goldsmith plates it with gold, and a silversmith fashions chains of silver. He who is too impoverished for such an offering selects a tree that does not rot; He seeks out for himself a skilled craftsman to prepare an idol that will not totter.”
In the blog “Even Though…” from a few weeks back, we discussed how the children of Israel worshiped a golden calf while eating the provision of God (manna). Although we did not discuss the fact that the Israelite people gave the gold of their earrings to be used for the idol, we read it. The provision that God had given them when they left Egypt, they threw away on an idol they asked Aaron to fashion for them. God had given them a savings account to buy whatever they needed in The Promised Land and they blew it in servitude to something that only God Himself could provide.
Every idol we choose to serve takes God’s provision from us as opposed to serving God Who continually gives back to us. Have you ever heard the phrase “you can’t out give God”? It’s true. But, an idol will take everything you have… and then some.
In Isaiah 40, the Lord tells His people that the gold and silver that He provided is nothing compared to Him. They molded the provision of the Lord into objects of worship and ignored the “real deal” of God Himself. Even those who could not afford gold, silver or another precious medal, went out to the woods and gathered pieces of trees to give to a skilled craftsman. He then fashioned it into an object that “would not totter” for them to worship.
Once again, we see people taking from the provision of God and shaping it into objects of worship that were never intended. We have to remind ourselves to thank God for His provision, but also to thank Him for His character. We have to make sure that we want God Himself and not what He can do for us. He is not a genie in a bottle. He is God Almighty, worthy of ALL praise.
Isaiah 40, verse 20 says that wood was fashioned into an idol that would “not totter”. An object that “does not totter” would take skill, would it not? What would you prop it up with? At first, I’m sure the wood itself would be stable enough to withstand the elements. A little wind, a little rain…no problem. But, as time wore on and the rains kept coming, what could be used to prop up the idol then? Would it take a few more pieces of wood? Would a few nails have to be driven into a more sound structure? Would you cunningly place flowers all around to hide the props? After all, what would your family and friends think if the item you worship is falling to the ground?
If the job God gave me is my idol, but I have been demoted, how would I prop it up? How would I spin the situation so that others would not notice that the object of my worship is now face down on the ground? How would I trick people into thinking that my job was still giving me the fulfillment that I claimed?
If the ministry God entrusted me with is my idol, but God’s Holy Spirit is not evident, do I create emotionalism to prop it up?
If my spouse is my idol, but my marriage is falling apart, how can I hide it? Do I get the help I need, or cover it in flowers?
Propping up human idols is hard work, work that God never intended for us to bother with. His burden is easy and His load is light (Matthew 11). When we worship the one true God we do not have to make excuses. He does not totter. Verse 25 and 26 of Isaiah 40 says, “‘To whom then will you liken Me that I should be his equal?’ says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes and see who has created these…” God will not allow our idols to continue. They will topple, whether they are fashioned from gold, silver, or wood. The only true Source of strength is Jesus. The only thing worthy of our worship is our Holy God.
There will always be rain and there will always be things in our lives that cause instability. Matthew 5 tells us that it rains on the righteous and the unrighteous. But, when we are worshiping the one true God, we become stable because He is stable. Matthew 7:24-25 says, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts upon them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house upon the rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and yet it DID NOT FALL, for it had been founded upon the rock.” We are secure because He is our security.
God loves us too much to allow us to worship things other than Him, things that were intended for blessing, not worship. Are we made to worship? Yes! Let’s just be sure we are worshiping the Creator and not the creation.