We know that “An idol is nothing at all in the world” and that “There is no God but one.” (1 Cor. 8:4)
The prophet Isaiah must have had a great sense of humor. Describing in chapter 44 the absurdity of idolatry, he pictured a man cutting down a tree in the forest—maybe a cedar, maybe a cypress or an oak. Half of the wood he burned for fuel. The other half he shaped into an idol and bowed before it in worship. “Save me!” he cried to this block of wood. “You are my god!”
I picture Isaiah shaking his head in amazement. What if the guy burned the wrong half!
Seriously, can anything be more ludicrous? The answer is yes, unfortunately. Nearly 2,700 years after Isaiah pulled back the curtain to reveal the foolishness of thinking we could be saved by gods of our own construction, the practice is still flourishing, and not just in developing countries. In our own high-tech culture, idolatry—the worship of the created rather than the Creator—may take new forms, but it’s still the same empty promise.
“Maybe,” the modern idol worshiper hopes, “this god of my own making will fill the God-shaped vacuum in my heart.” It doesn’t, of course. It’s just a modern-day version of that old block of wood. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow, “An idol is nothing at all in the world,” and that’s precisely what it offers its worshipers: nothing.
Keep the altar of your heart reserved for God alone.
Bob Black is an emeritus professor of religion at Southern Wesleyan University. Along with Keith Drury, he coauthored the denominational history, The Story of The Wesleyan Church.
© 2022 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.