“Gather together and come; assemble, you fugitives from the nations. Ignorant are those who carry about idols of wood, who pray to gods that cannot save. Declare what is to be, present it—let them take counsel together. Who foretold this long ago, who declared it from the distant past? Was it not I, the LORD? And there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me. Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.”
Beware Easy Idols
Writing a devotion, the week before Christmas, on the topic of idols seems almost too easy. For weeks, ads of all kinds pushed our “idol buttons.” I succumbed early on to a larger TV, reasoning there was no need to wait to get what I wanted to use now. That is the danger of the materialism idol. You can pick up that idol right now. You don’t even have to leave your home to get it. “One-click shopping” and it is on its way.
In many ways, all idolatry is easy. Easy on the part of the idol, that is. The idol answers no prayers and saves no lives. The idol being nothing does nothing but head toward inevitable decay. It is “wood” as God’s Word declares.
By contrast, the true God does all the hard work for us. In idolatry, you give to your idol and your idol gives back nothing of lasting value. In Christianity, God gives to you and what he gives is hard, but lasts forever.
He gives righteousness and salvation. That is hard work. For example, try to be righteous for a day. Magnify that. Take on the task Jesus did. Thirty-three years of daily righteousness, lived out in a real world of temptation and sin, yet he was without sin, so that his righteousness could be credited to our account.
He also gives salvation, which is rescue from sin. Salvation required a sacrifice for sin, and this, too, Jesus did on our behalf. The depictions of Jesus’ death on the cross are devastating from the physical perspective. What we cannot fully comprehend is the spiritual anguish of separation from his Father.
There is no idol who will live and die for you as Jesus did. There are too many who live and die for their idols. Do not be among the ignorant. Instead heed the words of God: “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.”
Heavenly Father, in this New Year turn me repeatedly to you, to the righteousness and salvation of Jesus my Lord. Keep me from false idols and wasted worship. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.