Nailing Down Their Idol

Isaiah 41:7 The craftsman encourages the goldsmith, and he who smooths with the hammer spurs on him who strikes the anvil. He says of the welding, “It is good.” He nails down the idol so it will not topple.

Do you see the irony in this verse? They are encouraging each other saying “it is good,” essentially playing God (remember Him proclaiming “It is good”?), and all the while they can see with their eyes that it’s not that good. I mean, it has to be nailed down otherwise it will topple over.

How often is this scenario played out today? Not long ago I came across someone recommending a blog article about the earthquake in Port-Au-Prince. The author of the article said that we could know God wasn’t behind the earthquake because God is love and because we know not everything that happens is His will since sin happens.

A round of encouragement went up. “It is good,” said the peanut gallery.

What idol were they nailing down? Their fake God who loves everyone so much He would never do anything that would hurt or kill someone. This is the same God who loves people too much to send them to hell. A God who loves couldn’t send someone to hell to suffer!

What is the obvious flaw in the idol that they ignore, like the nail holding down the golden image? The God of the Bible often killed people. You can’t get very far into the Bible before God wipes out the entire population save 8 people. It’s extremely plain that God was behind the flood. Of course, they would say that’s just poetry, not to be taken literally. What about the death and destruction God tells us is still to come in the book in the Revelation? Not literal? So…how about the earth swallowing Korah whole along with all his family and possessions (Num. 16)? Again,  it was clear that it was God doing it. It was a punishment for sin. Speaking of which, the Bible says that death is the result of sin. “For the wages of sin is death.”

God is completely just in taking the life of any sinner. It’s His grace that puts up with us long enough to seek Him and come to Him. It’s His love that displays itself in His mercy towards us in that He offers forgiveness so that we can repent and be filled with the Holy Spirit and be freed from sin and death.

Let’s stop repeating platitudes and start quoting Scripture. Read the Bible for yourself and if something goes against what you’ve been taught, perk up! Don’t dismiss it. Ask God to show you the truth. Believe the word of God. Believe what the Bible says. And show it by acting on it, by obeying it.

The Prophet and the Word of the Lord

Our family has been reading through the Bible, about a chapter a day. My husband reads it aloud after breakfast to our squirmy crew. We’ve recently finished 1 Kings and have had the fun of trying to explain some of the seemingly crazy prophet stories in there to our children.

I was thinking about these again tonight as I read about the sons of Jonadab in Jeremiah 35. God tells his prophet, Jeremiah, to go to the sons of Jonadab and give them wine. He does and he tells them to drink it. They refuse because their father had commanded them to never drink wine. They disobeyed the prophet, but obeyed their father (and God’s command to honor your father). They were commended by the Lord and blessed because of their obedience.

This reminded me of the story from 1 Kings 13 where the Lord commands a prophet to not eat or drink water in the place where he was sent. He obeys, at first. But then another prophet comes and tells him that “an angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord, saying ‘Bring him back with you to your house, that he may eat bread and drink water.'” (vs. 18)  So the prophet listens to him and eats and drinks water. Because he had disobeyed the Lord’s command to him, he was killed by a lion on his way home.

One obeyed the prophet of the Lord but disobeyed God’s command and was killed. One obeyed God’s command but disobeyed the prophet and was blessed.

There is no substitute for knowing the Lord’s voice and obeying it. It doesn’t matter what any teacher says or any other person who claims to be God’s spokesperson. It doesn’t matter how right they make it sound. It only matters what God says–his clear commands in Scriptures and the things you know He has personally taught you and convicted you about by His Spirit. These are the things you need to follow and cling to as truth.

Remember, in these two examples the prophets were truly prophets of God. They had been confirmed as God’s prophets. The word of the Lord had been known to come to them. But it didn’t matter. Only God’s word mattered.

God’s prophets have a tremendous job in the church. I’m not saying we should ignore prophets or muzzle them. I’m just showing the importance of knowing God’s word for ourselves and obeying it. We can’t follow others. We need to follow Christ alone.