Who’s Carrying Whom?
Gracious Lord, I pray that during this time we have together You’ll refresh my spirit to live for You today.
Read Isaiah 46:1-13
 Bel bows down, Nebo stoops low; their idols are borne by beasts of burden. The images that are carried about are burdensome, a burden for the weary.  They stoop and bow down together; unable to rescue the burden, they themselves go off into captivity.  “Listen to me, you descendants of Jacob, all the remnant of the people of Israel, you whom I have upheld since your birth, and have carried since you were born.  Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.  “With whom will you compare me or count me equal? To whom will you liken me that we may be compared?  Some pour out gold from their bags and weigh out silver on the scales; they hire a goldsmith to make it into a god, and they bow down and worship it.  They lift it to their shoulders and carry it; they set it up in its place, and there it stands. From that spot it cannot move. Even though someone cries out to it, it cannot answer; it cannot save them from their troubles.  “Remember this, keep it in mind, take it to heart, you rebels.  Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me.  I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’  From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that I will bring about; what I have planned, that I will do.  Listen to me, you stubborn-hearted, you who are now far from my righteousness.  I am bringing my righteousness near, it is not far away; and my salvation will not be delayed. I will grant salvation to Zion, my splendor to 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.
ReflectHow does God compare himself to idols?
Bel (sometimes known as Baal) was the chief god of the Babylonians and Nebo was his son. They were nothing more than statues made by Babylonian craftsmen using precious metals donated by the poor people of the kingdom (6). Every year they were carried in a great procession. I don’t know who got the job of carrying them, but I imagine they were very heavy. Every year the statues were asked to predict what lay ahead for the people. Every year they were strangely silent (7)! Then in 703 BC when Babylon came under attack, Bel and Nebo were unceremoniously loaded on to carts and dragged out of town to safety (2). Not surprisingly they weren’t able to save themselves! The things we create to take the place of God are not just useless, they are also burdensome. The true God invites his people to compare him with Bel and Nebo. I imagine God saying, “Listen to me, you stubborn lot” (12). (Yes, he’s talking to us, too!) “I’m not like those useless, so-called gods. You didn’t make me, I made you. And you don’t need to carry me, I carry you.”
The true God wants to carry you, not the other way around. Sit quietly now and invite him to do just that.
Save me, Lord, from thinking that I have to rescue or defend You. Instead, help me trust that You will always “carry” me.
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