Idolatry is Foolishness

A few years ago my wife and I visited the Lacadone Indian tribe in southern Mexico who made god-pots with ugly faces and worshiped them. They would make an intoxicating drink from certain tree leaves. They would drink this and dance around these pots and fall in a drunken s … More

Idolatry

In this passage Isaiah describes how people make their own god’s. This exposure of idolatry is the most powerful in the Bible. How absurd to make a god from the same tree that gives firewood. It shows how those who make idols are just like them: blind and ignorant and nothing.

The graven image is called vanity which means nothingness (v. 9). The worthless things refer to the extreme adornment of idols with gold, silver and precious stone. Isaiah also suggests that the workmen, as well as the worshipers, are very foolish and should be ashamed (vv. 10-11). God made people in His own image and now they are making gods in their image. These helpless idols leave people without help or hope. The fact that craftsmen are nothing but men epitomizes the foolishness of idol-worship (vv. 12-13). It is utter foolishness when part of the tree becomes a god, and the rest of the tree becomes fuel for the fire (vv. 14-17).

Those who worship idols are stupid and blind (vv. 18-19). When a man cuts down the trees of the forrest and takes part of them to build a fire to warm himself and takes another part to make a god is overwhelming and illogical stupidity to Isaiah. He says that to worship wood is to fed on ashes and trusting in something that is totally worthless (v. 20).

The utter stupidity of idolatry and a pagan religion is exposed here to the most scathing attack in the entire Bible. The fact that a person would worship this so-called god is bad enough but that he prayeth unto it and expects it to deliver him is even more ridiculous. Do we make our own gods today of money, fame or power. If so, we only deceive ourselves and can not expect to be blessed.

Application

Lord help me to not seek my own gods of money, fame or power. If I do, I deceive my own self.

Isaiah 44:9-20 (English Standard Version)

All who fashion idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit. Their witnesses neither see nor know, that they may be put to shame. Who fashions a god or casts an idol that is profitable for nothing? Behold, all his companions shall be put to shame, and the craftsmen are only human. Let them all assemble, let them stand forth. They shall be terrified; they shall be put to shame together. The ironsmith takes a cutting tool and works it over the coals. He fashions it with hammers and works it with his strong arm. He becomes hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water and is faint. The carpenter stretches a line; he marks it out with a pencil. He shapes it with planes and marks it with a compass. He shapes it into the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, to dwell in a house. He cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, "Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!" And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, "Deliver me, for you are my god!" They know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand. No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, "Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals; I roasted meat and have eaten. And shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?" He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, "Is there not a lie in my right hand?"

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