In grief, the prophet Isaiah proclaims judgment to surrounding nations and to Jerusalem. His “body is racked with pain,” birth pangs seize him. He is staggered, bewildered, full of fear. (Isaiah 21:3-4.) But he faithfully obeys the Lord, warning of approaching danger.
Isaiah sees in visions that, instead of putting their trust in God, the people of Judah will put their trust in Egypt, and later in Babylon. These are the nations which Isaiah foresees will destroy them.
People today are sometimes like that today. We may not be trusting in Babylon, but are we trusting in our material possessions? intellect? government? employers? husband? friends? Most of us fail to trust God at times, therefore we need tutoring. God’s purpose in teaching and disciplining us is to rescue us from Satan’s traps, drawing us into God’s heart.
My mistake was that I looked to humans for fulfillment of emotional needs and my sense of self-worth; but only God can love us perfectly, can be Jesus to us and make us feel worthwhile. He may work through other people, but it is idolatry to depend on the other people instead of on God. No matter how loving and dependable a person is, there is always the possibility of him or her failing us because every human is a sinner. And sinners are not totally trustworthy. Human beings are neither powerful enough nor faithful enough to be totally dependable and trustworthy, no matter how much they want to.
In contrast, God is powerful enough, loving enough and totally faithful. “All he does is just and good, and all his ways are right,” (Psalm111:7-9, LB).
A god is something or someone that has a hold on one’s life, or that one is addicted to. When we worship Almighty God as revealed in Jesus Christ, we are giving him our allegiance, letting him have control of our lives. If we let something or someone else have first place in our lives, we are in essence rejecting the real God. It is a matter of a person’s heart allegiance. God wants a personal relationship with us for our good. As our Creator, he knows that if we put anything other than him at the center of our lives, we will not reach the potential he created in us.
God has forbidden idolatry. The first and foremost of the Ten Commandments says, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” (Ex. 20:3). We must worship him alone. It’s not that God needs the praise; he is not an egomaniac. But he knew we would become like what we worship.
If we worship the Most High God who is holy merciful, loving and forgiving, we will become like him. If we worship money, we will become greedy and selfish. If we worship another person to the point that we do what that person wants in spite of knowing God wants us to do something else, that is also idolatry. We must avoid idol-worship of every kind because idols are actually representative of demons, (I Cor. 10:19-20).
Judith Vander Wege