“This is what the LORD says— … I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.”
I had been in Hindu temples before with their many images of gods and goddesses. But this was the first time I saw the idols being tended by worshipers. Images were being carefully dusted, and new floral leis were placed around their necks. Fresh bowls of fruit were set out as evening offerings.
As I watching these daily rituals, the words of the prophet Isaiah hit home. Perhaps no prophet is as hard on idolatry as Isaiah. He points out the nonsense of splitting a log and using half to make yourself a god and the other half to cook your dinner. Half the log spares the worshiper from the evening chill. The other half, fashioned into an idol, is appealed to for eternal salvation. Isaiah diagnoses the problem: eyes are “plastered over so they cannot see.” Spiritual blindness makes even obvious truth seem an incomprehensible mystery.
All this doesn’t seem to be my problem, until I come back to verse 8, where God says to his people, “You are my witnesses.” Given what we know, and what we have experienced as God’s redeemed people, we are witnesses of the truth to those who are blinded by the gods of this world. Our God is first and last—there is no other—and we need to let that be known.
Idolatry isn’t something to snicker about. It should make us weep. And witness.
Lord, forgive us if we ridicule others’ beliefs. Help us to see the pain of those who live without hope and without you in this world. Amen.
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