The Blinding Power of Idols

Idolatry, as God sees it, is just stupid.

The Coming Servant Part 2: Isaiah 44, 45 (2)

Pray Psalm 135.1-4.

Praise the LORD!
Praise the name of the LORD;
Praise Him, O you servants of the LORD!
You who stand in the house of the LORD,
In the courts of the house of our God,
Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good;
Sing praises to His name, for it is pleasant.
For the LORD has chosen Jacob for Himself,
Israel for His special treasure.

Read Isaiah 44.9-20.

Reflect.
1. Why are idols of any kind foolish and vain?

2. Why do people turn to idols rather than to God?

Meditate.
The theme of idols comes up again and again in Isaiah, as well as in all the prophets. There are two reasons for this.

First, idols are stupid. They’re stupid because they are mere objects and can neither hear nor see nor do anything else. They are the products of men’s thinking and craftsmanship, made from the same stuff they use to warm their homes or cook their meals (vv. 12-17).

These warnings are essential, in the second place, because those who make and worship idols – whether the kind of idols we see in Isaiah or the idols of work, wealth, or whatever – exist in a kind of spiritual stupor, in which they don’t think aright (vv. 18, 19) because they’re affections are misplaced (v. 20) and they are living the lie (v. 20; cf. Rom. 1.18-25)). What you love, you will worship; if you love anything more than God – if you give more of your heart, mind, time, resources, and energy to anything more than God – then you are an idolater, you are trapped in a spiritual stupor, and you can expect God to oppose your every attempt to find happiness and peace of mind.

We need these frequent warnings against idolatry, because we are all prone to make too much of things or ideal conditions or whatever we choose to pursue more than Christ and His Kingdom. Idolatry makes us useless for God and His glory (v. 9). It leads us to squander the many gifts God provides for us (v. 9), and we gain nothing of any lasting value from our devotion to idols (v. 10). If we really saw the idols in our lives for what they are, we would be ashamed, and would repent and renew our commitment to the Lord (v. 11).

Prepare.
1. What kind of idols do people serve in our day? What makes these idols, like those we see in Scripture?

2. How can we tell when something in our lives might be becoming an idol? What should we do then?

3. How can we increase in love for God, so that falling into the snare of idolatry will be less likely, and more readily recognizable?

Foolishness has mastered them; they have lost the faculty of reasoning and are slaves to folly. This is why I will put my Spirit on your descendants, so that they will be delivered from error, for in no other way can they receive the truth. “See, you will not say, There is a lie in my right hand.” Theodoret of Cyr (393-466 AD), Commentary on Isaiah 13.44.20

Free me, Lord, from any idols in my soul, so that I may love You more completely, and…

Pray Psalm 135.

How great is our God? Let this psalm lead you to praise His greatness, and to turn from any idols you may be trusting.

Sing to the Lord.
Psalm 135 (St. Gertrude: Onward, Christian Soldiers)
Praise the Savior, praise Him, for His Name is good; 
sing, for it is pleasant, to our glorious God!
All whom He has chosen and redeemed by grace, 
praise His Name together, praise Him in this holy place!
Refrain v. 1
Praise the Name of Jesus, you who serve His Word!
Raise your voice and praise our good and glorious Lord!

Great and sovereign, Jesus rules o’er all above, 
doing as He pleases, sovereign in His love.
Clouds and seas obey Him, lightning, too, and rain; 
He the winds brings forth in pow’r and sends them back again.
Refrain

Egypt’s firstborn fell to God's redeeming pow’r; 
kings and nations crumbled in redemption’s hour.
He the land of promise to His people gave; 
thus His Kingdom Jesus gives to all He's pleased to save.
Refrain

Evermore Your Name, O Savior, shall endure!
Your renown throughout all ages is secure.
For You have compassion, vindicating all
Those who serve Your Name and on Your saving mercy call.
Refrain

Vain the nations serve the idols of their hands; 
mouths and ears they have but cannot understand.
Every idol vain is, lacking life or breath; 
all who serve them like them shall be lost to lasting death.
Refrain

Bless the Lord you people, all who love the Lord!
Bless Him, you who trust His sovereign, holy Word!
Bless the Lord from Zion, Him Who in it dwells;
praise Him! Lift your voices, all His grace and glory tell!
Refrain

T. M. Moore

Where do the prophets fit with the rest of Scripture? How can I be a better student of God’s Word? Our course, Introduction to Biblical Theology, can help you gain a better approach to and understanding of the Scriptures. Watchthis brief preview video, then register at The Ailbe Seminary and enroll in this free online course.

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. 

Today's ReVision

Judgment

Next in order of the works of God is judgment.

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