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The Foolishness of Idolatry

The most profound truths can so often be evaluated and understood by just using common sense. The reality is that God did not write the Bible in such a way that only the most scholarly could comprehend it. It was written for ordinary people with common sense. To see this, read these words from Mark about the profound teaching of Jesus. “And the common people heard Him gladly” (Mark 12:37).

The prophet Isaiah showed the folly of those who worshiped idols in his day. He described that artisan who was creating his idol, fashioning it “…with his hammers and working with the strength of his arm…He is hungry, and his strength fails; He drinks no water and is faint” (44:12). Common sense would tell you that his idol/god should feed him!

The next few verses describe the process of producing a wooden idol. He cuts down the cedars, the cypress and the oak. He first takes some of the timber to warm himself and bake his bread. “He burns half of it in the fires; with this half he eats meat; he roasts a roast …and says, ‘Ah, I am warm, I have seen the fire.’” He then takes the rest of the “firewood” and carves it into an image. “He falls down before it and worships it, prays to it and says, ‘Deliver me for you are my god.’” Common sense says, “How can firewood do anything for you?” His actions show that his cedar tree is helpless! Idolatry simply does not make sense. An idol is nothing more than a tree!

To see the folly of idolatry read Psalm 115. “Their idols are silver and gold, the works of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they do not speak; eyes they have but they do not see; they have ears, but they do not hear; noses they have but they do not smell; they have hands, but they do not handle; feet they have but they do not walk; nor do they mutter through their throat.” The most amazing observation is that in the history of mankind millions and millions have fallen down, bringing gifts and burning incense to a piece of metal or wood or some precious stone. Their actions of worship were not seen, heard, or smelled by the idol. Its hands never moved, and its feet never walked.

Finally hear the words of Paul to those who had left idolatry to become Christians. “You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were lead” (1 Cor. 12:2). Those idols were deaf mutes. He says a similar thing to the Christians in Thessalonica. “You turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God” (1 Thess. 1:9). Hear the contrast and stand in amazement of how anyone could worship an idol. You turned from dumb, blind, deaf pieces of wood to serve a living God. Next week, we will look at the hands, eyes, ears, feet and mouth of our living God.