19 Jul 2015

The LORD Mocks Those Who Construct Idols

Religious 12 Comments

I thought this was pretty funny. It’s from Isaiah 44:

6 “This is what the Lord says—
Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty:
I am the first and I am the last;
apart from me there is no God.
7 Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it.

9 All who make idols are nothing,
and the things they treasure are worthless.
Those who would speak up for them are blind;
they are ignorant, to their own shame.
10 Who shapes a god and casts an idol,
which can profit nothing?

13 The carpenter measures with a line
and makes an outline with a marker;
he roughs it out with chisels
and marks it with compasses.
He shapes it in human form,
human form in all its glory,
that it may dwell in a shrine.
14 He cut down cedars,
or perhaps took a cypress or oak.
He let it grow among the trees of the forest,
or planted a pine, and the rain made it grow.
15 It is used as fuel for burning;
some of it he takes and warms himself,
he kindles a fire and bakes bread.
But he also fashions a god and worships it;
he makes an idol and bows down to it.
16 Half of the wood he burns in the fire;
over it he prepares his meal,
he roasts his meat and eats his fill.
He also warms himself and says,
“Ah! I am warm; I see the fire.”
17 From the rest he makes a god, his idol;
he bows down to it and worships.
He prays to it and says,
“Save me! You are my god!”
18 They know nothing, they understand nothing;
their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see,
and their minds closed so they cannot understand.
19 No one stops to think,
no one has the knowledge or understanding to say,
“Half of it I used for fuel;
I even baked bread over its coals,
I roasted meat and I ate.
Shall I make a detestable thing from what is left?
Shall I bow down to a block of wood?”
20 Such a person feeds on ashes; a deluded heart misleads him;
he cannot save himself, or say,
“Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?”

12 Responses to “The LORD Mocks Those Who Construct Idols”

  1. Ben says:


    These words have much richer meaning in the original Hebrew. To bad so much gets lost in the translation. (Of a translation.)

  2. E. Harding says:

    Eeerily, this was posted almost at the same time as:
    Worshipers of false idols still have success getting into power.
    Remember, every action committed by the Islamic State is committed by Obama. There is no Islamic State without Obama.

  3. Harold says:

    Is the wooden god a straw man? For the man surely bows down to the god the wooden statue represents, not the wood itself.

    • Keshav Srinivasan says:

      Yeah, I’m a Hindu, and we don’t worship stone or wood; we worship the gods whose presence is suffused in the statue upon being invoked. It’s similar to how Catholics believe they’re not eating bread and and drinking wine, but rather consuming the body and blood of Jesus which lie beyond the material nature (or “accidents” to use a theological term) of the objects they’re eating.

      • E. Harding says:

        How old is this belief?

        BTW, as Nadav Na’aman showed, anthropomorphic graven images were already extremely rare in temples in the Southern Levant in the 8th century BC, even in polytheist cultures.

      • Z says:

        I worship wood itself. Not the spirit of wood or any such thing, but the elements that make up the wood itself. Not because I think it has any significance, but just kind of for fun. It’s something to do during the day, like playing hockey, chess, or cleaning the yard.

        • Keshav Srinivasan says:

          I don’t even know what it means to pray to an inanimate object.

          • Grane Peer says:

            Try to assemble something from Ikea.

          • Z says:

            Neither do I, but I do it anyways. As they say in Jurassic Park, ‘Life finds a way.’

  4. anon says:

    One of the features of Jewish thought that I find appealing is the rejection of every symbol of God–esp. the use of his name–as blasphemous and inadequate. That’s often boiled down to thoughtless ritual as deeper truths usually are, but the idea that the holy is unnameable, and any attempt to peg it down to say, a personal being or a divine king or a loving/angry father or any mental construct at all, is inadequate to ultimate reality.

    It’s the religious version of sit-down-shut-up, which is deeply appealing for those who’ve endured a lot of churchy scolding, which often sounds an awful lot like progressive/prohibitionist scolding.

  5. Innocent says:

    An interesting question is what is an idol. Can an idol be the thing that we spend our time with? A thing that takes the place of God? Do we not all have our idols that we choose over God? Work, Play, perhaps even our own worldly self interest? Are we not all in some way worthy of being mocked by God for how we spend our time.

    These are of course just thoughts. I know quite keenly many of my own weaknesses and failings. I am too quick to speak, to emotional at times to listen. Too sure of myself to seek guidance. Yet to any who will stop and ask God is there and willing to love, support, encourage and bring to bear a great deal of profit.

    I especially love the line

    “Who shapes a god and casts an idol, which can profit nothing?”

    When you turn to God you learn wisdom, you gain knowledge, you find peace. Yet what can you gain from an ‘idol’. Is it nothing more than a distraction? Something that pulls the mind and heart away from purpose and growth?

    Let us not create idols, but rather seek to know God, and through that knowledge understand ourselves a little better.

    Fun stuff.

    • Desmond Devlin says:

      The False idol is TV! Thank the Lord I have broken free from its clutches!

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