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Walking Points

Advent 2022: Day 5

Advent 2022: Day 5

Isaiah 2:12-22

12 The Lord Almighty has a day in store
for all the proud and lofty,
for all that is exalted
(and they will be humbled),
13 for all the cedars of Lebanon, tall and lofty,
and all the oaks of Bashan,
14 for all the towering mountains
and all the high hills,
15 for every lofty tower
and every fortified wall,
16 for every trading ship 
and every stately vessel.
17 The arrogance of man will be brought low
and human pride humbled;
the Lord alone will be exalted in that day,
18     and the idols will totally disappear.

19 People will flee to caves in the rocks
and to holes in the ground
from the fearful presence of the Lord
and the splendor of his majesty,
when he rises to shake the earth.
20 In that day people will throw away
to the moles and bats
their idols of silver and idols of gold,
which they made to worship.
21 They will flee to caverns in the rocks
and to the overhanging crags
from the fearful presence of the Lord
and the splendor of his majesty,
when he rises to shake the earth.

22 Stop trusting in mere humans,
who have but a breath in their nostrils.
Why hold them in esteem?

Origen: Not only do human beings “make gods for themselves” from statues, but you will also find them “making gods for themselves” from their imaginations. For such people can imagine another god and creator of the world in a system different from the divine plan of the world recorded by the Spirit, other than the true world. These all have “made gods for themselves,” and they have “worshiped the works of their hands.” So, too, I believe is the case either among the Greeks who generate opinions, so to speak, of this philosophy or that, or among the heretics, the first who generate opinions. These have “made idols for themselves” and figments of the soul, and by turning to them “they worship the works of their hands,” since they accept as truth their own fabrications.

Devotional Prayer based on today’s readings

God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, you are the one true God and there is no other. You care deeply that we know this… that we believe this… that we live according to this truth. You built it into the fabric of your people when you taught us that you alone are God and therefore, we must have no other gods in your presence. And yet, O Lord, we are idol factories.

Whether we are cutting down trees and carving idols for our altars with leftover wood, forming and shaping precious metals into images, or bowing before a mirror, our innate need to worship has gone wrong.

In some instances of our idolatry, we turn the good into the enemy of the best. We take your good gifts, such as our health, families, jobs, homes, and other good gifts you have provided, and made them the focus and grand pursuits of our lives. And, at other times, we create fabrications of who you are based on our personal preferences. We turn from your clear commands and go on our own ways because we know better and are more enlightened than the ancient words written by ancient people. For this, Almighty and Only Wise God, we ask for your forgiveness and for the desire and power to repent and seek you only.

The season of Advent reminds us that as you visited us in the flesh the first time, you will once again return. But you will not return as a babe in a manger but as the judging King of kings and Lord of lords. And as our Scripture for today reveals, there will be no place to hide from you. The idols of our hearts will be laid bare before you. Those lesser things in which we placed our adoration and devotion will be exposed. That will not be the time to repent. That opportunity will have passed us by.

O God, today is the day of salvation. Today is the day to meet with you in faith and repentance. Today is the day to humble ourselves before you and recognize you for who you are. Today is the day to bow before you and cry out, “my Lord and my God.” Today is the day to throw our idols into the fire and rejoice in our freedom from them… and to celebrate our true liberation found only in Christ. You alone are God and there is no other. In Christ’s holy name we pray. Amen.

Dale Tedder

Dale Tedder is a Global Methodist pastor in Jacksonville, Florida. If you would like to keep up with his online ministry or read other things Dale has written, you can check out his website, Walking Points. You can check out his author’s page for books he has written. Finally, Dale’s podcast, Walking Points, can be heard wherever you listen to podcasts.

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