Serve Nothing: Be Nothing
Father God, I need the faith to see the ultimate triumph of righteousness. I praise You that You are working out Your plans.
Read Isaiah 44:9-23
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of him” (A. W. Tozer, 1897-1963).
Yesterday’s passage shows how a believer’s intrinsic value and identity is tied up with the identity of the God they worship. Because of whom God is, his people have immense value. However, today’s passage describes a consequence of that logic. Isaiah states, in wonderfully forceful imagery, that if you worship nothing, then you are nothing! He was talking to those who, living in a society where idol-worship was common, had become entangled in that society’s values and begun to believe that maybe, just maybe, those idols could step in when life was hard and God appeared to be absent. But “the things they treasure are worthless” (9).
Few readers of these notes will ever be tempted to worship carved wooden or metal blocks or think that such blocks have power to save themselves, let alone any worshipers. (If the block has been carved by a Rodin or a Michelangelo, though, the temptation to think it could change our lives might yet become irresistible!) Verse 20 is significant: those who worship idols are so deluded that they don’t even realize that the thing they are serving is a lie. It has no intrinsic value, it can’t create, can’t forgive, can’t redeem.
There are many lies told in every society today about what does and does not have value, or can and cannot transform our lives. The challenge we face is to identify them. The letters to the churches at the beginning of Revelation make it clear that being led astray was not restricted to Isaiah’s generation. Sometimes it is easier to identify the wrong values of others than our own.
Is there an Isaiah pointing out my delusions that I need to listen to, or am I called to be an Isaiah to other Christians?
Lord, You are my Creator and Redeemer. Show me when my values become distorted and I give credit where it is not deserved. Help me return to worshiping only You.
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