What profit is the image, that its maker should carve it, the molded image, a teacher of lies, that the maker of its mold should trust in it, to make mute idols? Woe to him who says to wood, “Awake!” to silent stone, “Arise! It shall teach!” Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, yet in it there is no breath at all. But the Lord is in His holy temple. Let all the earth keep silence before Him. (Habakkuk 2:18-20)
A Teacher Of Lies
Idol worship has been the bane of mankind since the beginning of time when men turned away from the word of the Lord to create their own gods and placate the carnal desires of the flesh. The foundation of idolatry has always been men seeking to find happiness in themselves. Cutting a tree down and forming it into an image of man’s imagination and calling it a god is the height of absurdity as there is no life in the object. It cannot speak on its own, walk by its own power or teach wisdom because it is an inanimate object of wood or stone. Covering it with gold or silver gives it no more life than when it was first formed. Carving stones to stand mute before the worshiper who is the creator of the god is the folly of human reasoning that accepts a self-made creation as a higher being than its creator. No man can create a god greater than himself because the creator of the object will always be greater than his creation. The idol becomes a teacher of lies when men trust the object of gold or silver more than the one true God. Human wisdom is a remarkable failure of self-appointed glory to the depravity of creating objects of worship that are dead. The evidence of a higher being than man is clearly evident in the world but the challenge for man is to accept the need to worship a creature higher than himself. Idolatry allows man to be his own god and to form his own body of law. Life is measured by the carnal rather than the eternal. Happiness comes from the will of man instead of the commands of the Creator. Men are free to do as they please soothing their conscience with the platitudes of self-gratification and pleasure. What makes idolatry worthless is what is found at the end of journey. The image carved of stone stands erect in temples of wood and mortar while its worshippers die and face the only true Creator. Throughout the history of man the Stonehenge’s of failed theology reminds the next generation that all is vain and empty apart from the worship of the one true God.
Trusting in images of wood and stone is folly because it is founded on a lie. Creating an image into an idol is the madness of human wisdom. Man will always be its creator, protector, provider and instrument of creation. Anything that comes from the idol is formed first in the mind of man. How foolish to trust in a creation formed by the hand of man that cannot talk. An idol cannot tell a man what to do or how to live. Overlaying the idol with gold or silver does not give it life. It remains a mute object of man’s folly to believe in a lie that man is his own god. The Lord is in His holy temple and if men are to find peace, happiness and hope they must turn to the only true Creator. When men come to the Lord they find they are not their own god and the temple of the Lord is a place of wisdom, knowledge, and words that are spoken for the good of all men. Idol worship is falling down before a dead god but the worship of the Creator is kneeling before the only true and living God. The wisdom of the Lord is greater than the wisdom of man because man is not his own god. How foolish for the creation of the Lord God to fall down before his own creation and call it his god.
It is easy to see the folly of idol worship in a culture where images of stone and wood fill the landscape. Idolatry may not seem to have an impact on the people of God who would never find themselves falling down before an image of wood or stone but the danger is more evident than what is seen. A subtle ploy of the great deceiver is to convince believers in Christ to worship their fleshly pleasures more than the Lord and His word. Materialism is just as much an idol as a stone carving on Easter Island. The church is filled with idolaters who believe in the images of social acceptance, carnal entertainment, immodesty, social drinking and the pursuit of worldly pleasures. Their lives are gauged by the lie that happiness comes from the enjoyments of the world. The American success story is a great lie for modern men. It becomes the idol of the modern century when men trust in their own wisdom and power rather than seeking the word of the Lord. The temple of the Lord remains standing and those who come to worship in His temple will find themselves standing before the only true and living God. In contrast to the idolatry of men that come with shouting and noise and loud proclamations of self-worth; those who assemble in the temple of the Lord come in silence to honor their Maker and Creator. The wisdom of man is a teacher of lies. Trusting in the word of the Lord is a teacher of truth.