Isaiah 46:1-2 ESV
Bel bows down; Nebo stoops;
Their idols are on beasts and livestock;
These things you carry are borne
As burdens on weary beasts.
They stoop; they bow down together;
They cannot save the burden,
But themselves go into captivity.
God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is the one and only true God. All other gods are false gods. And, these “gods” don’t have to be ones worshipped by other religions, either. They can be anything in our lives, and in our hearts, which supersedes or which replaces God as the only God of our lives. They are what we look to, instead of to God, to meet our felt or our real needs.
So, a false god can be pride, lust, self, human flesh, intellect, and head knowledge. Or, it can be religion, religious rituals, preachers, and buildings (religious edifices built by man). Or, it can be sports, sports figures, heroes, nations, national leaders, and careers. And/or, it can be entertainers, TV, movies, the internet, social media, smart phones, and entertainment, etc.
And, when we follow after and we worship false gods, of our own making, they are burdens to us, for they were not meant for us to bear. And, many of them lead us into the captivity of sin, and they cannot save us from the burden of sin, either. For, many of these self-made gods move us to think of self, and of self-pleasure, and they move us to seek after other gods rather than to rely upon the only true God for our felt or our real needs.
Isaiah 46:3-4 ESV
“Listen to me, O house of Jacob,
All the remnant of the house of Israel,
Who have been borne by me from
Before your birth,
Carried from the womb;
Even to your old age I am he,
And to gray hairs I will carry you.
I have made, and I will bear;
I will carry and will save.”
So, God is calling out to us, his church, to listen to him. And, he is reminding us that he birthed us. First, he gave us the breath of life in our natural birth, and then he gave us new life in Christ Jesus, our Lord, by God’s grace, through God-given faith in Jesus Christ. He had a purpose both in creating us, in bringing us into this world, and also in transforming our hearts and minds to leave our lives of sin behind us to follow him in obedience.
And, he is letting us know that he, who made us, and who transformed us, and who has given us physical and spiritual birth, is also able to take care of us, too, in any and every situation we may encounter in this life and in this world. He is able to and he will provide everything that we need in order to live in this world, and to live godly and holy lives pleasing to him, too.
Even to our elderly years, when our hair is turning gray (mine is), he will carry us who are his by faith in Jesus Christ. He who made us, and who saved us by his grace, is also quite capable of meeting all of our needs. There is never any justification for any of us to turn to false gods to save us, which they can’t do anyway, or to meet what we believe are our needs.
Isaiah 46:5-7 ESV
“To whom will you liken me and
Make me equal, and compare me,
That we may be alike?
Those who lavish gold from the purse,
And weigh out silver in the scales,
Hire a goldsmith, and he
Makes it into a god;
Then they fall down and worship!
They lift it to their shoulders,
They carry it, they set it in its place,
And it stands there;
It cannot move from its place.
If one cries to it, it does not answer
Or save him from his trouble.”
Sometimes we need to be shown the futility and the stupidity of following after and worshiping false gods. And, sometimes that includes being faced with the reality of what false gods can be in our lives, and how they are being worshiped by us, too.
For, worship has to do with giving our hearts, passions, time, affection, money, talents, thoughts, obedience and submission to something or to someone(s). So, what gets most of our attention, affection, time, and passion? Outside of normal things like jobs to support us, and our families, or taking care of children or the elderly, or cooking meals, cleaning house, doing dishes, and washing clothes, etc., what consumes us?
How do we spend most of our time when the obligations of life are not consuming us? And, even when we are having to do other things, do we separate those from our worship of God? Do we compartmentalize our lives, in other words, for time for God, and then time for other things? Or, do we see every aspect of our lives as committed to our Lord?
One of the main “idols” that comes to mind here for most Americans, I believe, is television, though it has been replaced, possibly. For, it is carried, and it is put in place, and it stands there, and it cannot be moved. And, today’s TV sets are huge, and they take up a lot of space in the living room of people’s homes. And usually, it appears, all the seats in the living room are aimed towards the TV set. So, it gives the appearance of a place of worship, and that the “god” being worshipped is TV. And, I believe it is a “god” in many homes here in America, and among many Christians, too.
Yet, I also see that the smart phone now has possibly taken 1st place over the TV, and it can easily be a “god” which people now carry around with them everywhere they go. And, it appears to direct many people’s lives, too. For, their free time seems to be often consumed by the smart phone and all the games, videos, chats, social media, etc. that can be accessed 24/7 in the palm of one’s hand in total privacy, and which has free access to a whole world of evil at one’s finger tips, too. And, it has become a “god” to many people, too, and it is certainly worshipped by many, as well.
Isaiah 46:8-13 ESV
“Remember this and stand firm,
Recall it to mind, you transgressors,
Remember the former things of old;
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me,
Declaring the end from the beginning
And from ancient times things
Not yet done,
Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
And I will accomplish all my
Calling a bird of prey from the east,
The man of my counsel from a
I have spoken, and I will
Bring it to pass;
I have purposed, and I will do it.
“Listen to me, you stubborn of heart,
You who are far from righteousness:
I bring near my righteousness;
It is not far off,
And my salvation will not delay;
I will put my salvation in Zion,
For Israel my glory.”
Here God is now going beyond just asking us to listen to him and to heed his counsel. For, He has shown us the futility of following after false gods, and of worshiping false gods of our own making. He has pointed out to us the reality of the fact that they can’t save us. They can’t help us. They can’t meet our real needs. They will only be a burden to us, and they are likely to lead us down a path of degradation.
And, he has reminded us, too, that he is our creator God who made us and who transformed us, and who has given us physical and spiritual life for his purposes. And, he has reminded us, too, that because he is the one who gave us life, he is also able to provide everything that we need, too. He will carry us, and he will provide for us, if we will be carried by him, and if we don’t turn to false gods for our support and to meet our needs, instead.
And, now he is speaking strongly to those who profess his name but who are living in open rebellion against him; to those who make a practice of following after the lusts of the flesh, and do not make righteousness their practice. He is speaking to those who are stubborn of heart, and who are unwilling to yield control of their lives over to God. Only in lip service will they bow to his Lordship, but not in truth, and not in practice.
And, he is reminding them that he is still God. He has not changed. His Word will be accomplished. It will be fulfilled. His righteousness will prevail. And, he will judge those who think they know God but who refuse to bow the knee to him in true humility and in walks of obedience to his commands. He will also discipline those who are his but who have strayed from their pure devotion to him to follow after the gods of this world.
For, one of the ways in which our Lord “saves” us is through divine discipline and correction, and through trials and tribulations. For, when we go through hard times, many times it does lead us to return to our Lord, to forsake our lives of sin and rebellion against God, and to now follow in the ways of righteousness and holiness. For, sometimes we, as humans, can be hard-headed, and we need stronger measures in order to get us to look up to God and to truly follow him with our whole hearts as our ONLY GOD AND LORD.
An Original Work / October 3, 2013
Based off Isaiah 53
Gospel message, who believes?
Jesus Christ died on a tree,
Saving us from all our sin,
So we might be cleansed within.
Had no beauty found in Him,
That we should desire Him.
Man of sorrows, suffering;
Crushed for our iniquities.
Surely He has borne our griefs;
From our sadness, brings relief.
Bore the stripes; forsaken, He,
So forgiven we might be.
We, like sheep, have gone astray,
Each of us turned his own way.
Jesus calls, “Repent today;
My commandments, now obey.”
Jesus said, to come to him,
We must die to all our sin.
Crucified with Him, we live,
Walking in His righteousness.
Suff’ring servants, we will be,
Taking His identity on us,
When confessing Him
As our Savior, Lord and King.
Tuesday, September 10, 2019