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I started this blog when I was following the Life Journal Bible reading plan on YouVersion. (I've since completed that plan.) At that time, YouVersion didn't provide any way for people to respond to my notes, other than to "like" them. So this blog is here to remedy that problem. You may comment on my notes here in the comment section.
I also have a general blog.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Fear not idols

25/7/11 Isaiah 43-45; 1 Peter 4

S: Isaiah 44:13-20 Then the wood-carver measures a block of wood and draws a pattern on it. He works with chisel and plane and carves it into a human figure. He gives it human beauty and puts it in a little shrine. He cuts down cedars; he selects the cypress and the oak; he plants the pine in the forest to be nourished by the rain. Then he uses part of the wood to make a fire. With it he warms himself and bakes his bread. Then—yes, it’s true—he takes the rest of it and makes himself a god to worship! He makes an idol and bows down in front of it! He burns part of the tree to roast his meat and to keep himself warm. He says, “Ah, that fire feels good.” Then he takes what’s left and makes his god: a carved idol! He falls down in front of it, worshiping and praying to it. “Rescue me!” he says. “You are my god!” Such stupidity and ignorance! Their eyes are closed, and they cannot see. Their minds are shut, and they cannot think. The person who made the idol never stops to reflect, “Why, it’s just a block of wood! I burned half of it for heat and used it to bake my bread and roast my meat. How can the rest of it be a god? Should I bow down to worship a piece of wood?” The poor, deluded fool feeds on ashes. He trusts something that can’t help him at all. Yet he cannot bring himself to ask, “Is this idol that I’m holding in my hand a lie?”

O: The Bible speaks against idols many times, but never ascribes any power to them. This is a typical attitude of our scriptures towards idols -- derision at the foolishness of it.

A: As Chinese Malaysian Christians, we are often too Chinese Malaysian and import our cultural Chinese Malaysian beliefs into our Christianity. One of these beliefs is the idea that idols have powerful spirits in them. In our pre-Christian days, we think of those spirits as gods that we can propitiate to get them to help us. Now as Christians, we think of those spirits as bad and can harm us, so many Christians exhibit a near-superstitious fear of idols. But the Bible doesn't teach that at all.

The Bible does teach that there are evil spirits and that it is possible to allow them to influence us. The Bible also does teach that it is wrong to worship anything other than God. We must not worship idols, which is a violation of the first commandment and also the reason why God allowed Israel to be destroyed and taken into captivity.

For a more complete discussion of this topic, see this article from the Community Baptist Church News.


I will have no other gods before You
Only You will reign as my heart’s King
I will have no other gods before You
I will put You first in everything

With all my heart
With all my soul
With all my might
I want to love You, Lord


(Sorry, I couldn't find a better rendition of this song on YouTube.)
Incidentally, Isaiah 45, right after this, has Cyrus being predicted as a messiah of God to save the Jews from their exile and return to the land of Israel and rebuild the temple of Jerusalem. This prophecy was made over a century before Cyrus was even born! This is a rare case where scriptural prophecy actually names a person in the future by name.

This is such an obvious prediction and fulfilment that non-Christian scholars these days, as well as many Christians who don't really believe in miracles, try to explain it away by saying there were 2 other people who added to the book of Isaiah. Here are some articles that discuss this matter:

I wonder if one possible reason why God seldom does that is because if He does, then people might get too caught up in trying to name their children in the hope of fulfilling the prophecy, or, Satan's forces would be able to focus on trying to thwart them.

For example, in Isaiah itself are many prophecies about Jesus. They are demonstrably written before Christ -- anti-Christian Jewish tradition, the Dead Sea Scrolls, etc. support this. They obviously refer to Christ upon hindsight -- even the crucifixion is predicted. But if you were reading Isaiah before circa AD 25, you probably wouldn't have thought that this young carpenter Jesus from Nazareth would be the predicted Messiah who would be martyred in this manner.

The Jewish leaders, the Romans, and even Satan didn't realise it or they wouldn't have gone ahead and crucified Him, hence fulfilling the prophecy.

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