Chosen By God
“Speak, Lord, in the stillness, while I wait on thee; Hushed is my heart to listen in expectancy” (Emily M.G. Crawford).
Read Isaiah 44:1-23
 “But now listen, Jacob, my servant, Israel, whom I have chosen.  This is what the LORD says- he who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you: Do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.  For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.  They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams.  Some will say, ‘I belong to the LORD’; others will call themselves by the name of Jacob; still others will write on their hand, ‘The LORD’s,’ and will take the name Israel.  “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.  Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out before me what has happened since I established my ancient people, and what is yet to come- yes, let them foretell what will come.  Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.”  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.  Who shapes a god and casts an idol, which can profit nothing?  People who do that will be put to shame; such craftsmen are only human beings. Let them all come together and take their stand; they will be brought down to terror and shame.  The blacksmith takes a tool and works with it in the coals; he shapes an idol with hammers, he forges it with the might of his arm. He gets hungry and loses his strength; he drinks no water and grows faint.  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.  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.  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.  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.”  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!”  They know nothing, they understand nothing; their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see, and their minds closed so they cannot understand.  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?”  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?”  “Remember these things, Jacob, for you, Israel, are my servant. I have made you, you are my servant; Israel, I will not forget you.  I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.”  Sing for joy, you heavens, for the LORD has done this; shout aloud, you earth beneath. Burst into song, you mountains, you forests and all your trees, for the LORD has redeemed Jacob, he displays his glory in Israel. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhy is worship of any "idols" so foolish?
God is amazingly loving, caring and patient in his commitment to his people, and unimaginably extravagant in his promises to them. These qualities should be enough to bind people to him forever. Verses 1-5 tell the story. The result of this close relationship will be that pagans want to join God’s people (5)–just what God told Abram would happen through him and his descendants (Gen. 12:1-3). However, back in Isaiah’s time, in spite of God’s faithfulness and constant love, idolatry was a constant temptation for God’s people. The Egyptians, Assyrians and Babylonians all practiced it and they weren’t doing so badly. On the other hand, the people of Israel say they believe and trust in the one true God and they’re having a disastrous time! Isn’t that just crazy? No, says the Lord. What’s really crazy is taking a block of wood and making a fire with one half and a god with the other (15-17). It’s the same block of wood in both cases! That’s what really “crazy,” terribly foolish and offensive to the one, true God.
Is the church today in danger of idolatry? Does anything threaten to displace God from the center of its life and worship?
Eternal God, You and You alone are God. I know that there is no other God. Keep me from any idolatry, I pray.
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