The Futility of Idols

God lays into the idols Israel preferred to Him.

Comfort and Deliverance: Isaiah 40, 41 (6)

Pray Psalm 115.1.
Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us,
But to Your name give glory,
Because of Your mercy,
Because of Your truth.

Read Isaiah 41.21-29.

1. Why are idols not to be trusted? 

2. Why do you suppose Israel trusted in idols rather than in God?

In this passage we see God taunting the idols Israel had been clinging to. What could they do? Nothing. What had they foretold? Nothing. Would the idols of Israel and the nations prevent God from bringing His judgment on them all? Not a chance.

God’s Word to Israel “from the beginning” (v. 26) has been reliable and true. That would continue to be the case, both in the coming of judgment and of “one who brings good tidings” (v. 27).

Clearly there was no “case” (v. 21) for clinging to idols, but sinful people do dumb things. When we trust in anything or anyone rather than the Lord, we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment. Things and circumstances can become idols when we focus on them and strive too hard to maintain them, forgetting that only the Lord provides for our needs and keeps us in His care.

Things and circumstances don’t have to become idols. But when we sense they have, when we’re looking to these rather than to God and His Word for our happiness and wellbeing, it’s time to recognize the futility of all idols, and return to the Lord in repentance and faith.

1. How can you know when something has become an idol?

2. What does it mean to trust the Lord? How do you practice trusting Him?

3. Suggest some ways you can enjoy things and circumstances as gifts from God, without allowing them to become idols.

It is in a perfectly appropriate way that he both shows the stupid nature of the idols and accuses of impiety those who have fashioned them. For if the idols are inanimate, their makers are full of stupidity and impiety. Theodoret of Cyr (393-466 AD), Commentary on Isaiah 12.41.29

Lord, let there be no idols in my life, but let me trust always in You by…

Pray Psalm 115.

Renew your only in the Lord as you pray this psalm. Recall the many ways He has blessed you, and commit yourself to being a good steward of the opportunities He puts before you today.

Sing to the Lord.
Psalm 115 (Plainfield: Nothing But the Blood of Jesus)
Not to us, O God, not us, but unto Your Name give glory!
For Your love and faithfulness, ever to Your Name be glory!
Why should the nations cry, "Where is their God on high?"
You rule us, Lord, on high – ever to Your Name be glory!

Idols made by men's own hand – ever to Your Name be glory – 
See nor hear nor understand – ever to Your Name be glory.
They neither feel nor walk, nor can they speak or talk;
all those who serve them fall – but unto Your Name be glory!

All who trust in Jesus yield – ever to His Name be glory –
Find in Him their help and shield – ever to Your Name be glory!
O Israel, trust the Lord!  He helps us evermore!
Fear Him obey His Word – ever to Your Name be glory!

Blessings from our gracious Lord – ever to Your Name be glory – 
Will attend us evermore – ever to Your Name be glory!
Bless all who fear You, Lord, all who obey Your Word,
All who Your Name adore – ever to Your Name be glory!

Grant us, Savior, great increase – ever to Your Name be glory!
Bless us with eternal peace – ever to Your Name be glory!
Heaven and earth are Yours; let every soul adore
and bless You evermore – ever to Your Name be glory!

T. M. Moore

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Forward today’s lesson to some friends, and challenge them to study with you through this series on Isaiah. Each week’s lessons will be available as a free PDF download at the end of the week. Get a copy for yourself and send the link for the download to your friends. Plan to meet weekly to study Isaiah’s important message.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006).All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).


T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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Next in order of the works of God is judgment.

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