Who would form a god or mold an image that profits him nothing? (Isaiah 44:10)
Does God Profit You?
The idea of idol worship is foreign to those who believe in Jesus Christ as the nature of Christianity is not based upon the image of a piece of stone, wood, or totem. Baal and Asherah worship common in the time of the Old Testament derived its strength from the idols, groves, and high places where sacrifices were made. During the reign of Manasseh king of Judah, a carved image of Asherah was put in the Temple of Solomon. During the final days of Judah, prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah denounced the nation for following after idols and rebelling against the Lord. The foolishness of idolatry is they are created by man to become a god to man. Idols are useless, prized objects that are worthless. The people who worship idols cannot see the folly of bowing down to an idol that a moment earlier was a tree used to build a fire and bake bread. It becomes a shame to trust in something that cannot save itself and cannot help a man in any way.
Isaiah declares that only a fool would make his own god—an idol that cannot help him one bit. Men create totems that resemble their own image to fall down and worship a carving they believe will profit them and save them. This is foolishness. The key to seeing the difference between the one true God and an idol is the value of each. An idol is dumb, cannot move on its own, has no mind, gives no blessing, and has no will of its own. When danger threatens it is the man who saves the idol; not the idol that saves a man. The Lord God Almighty – on the other hand – is a great God of value because He speaks, moves through the universe and through time, possesses all knowledge, is found abundant in blessings, and declares His will to man to find happiness, peace, security, and hope. How can one compare the greatness of God with a trinket or image? Nothing man has created can bring such blessings and value as the presence of God.
Idol worship in its basic ideal may not be a common temptation for the modern man but he must not be deluded into believing that idol worship is not a problem. The foundation of idol worship is whose allegiance a heart gives itself to and to whom it owes its existence. Isaiah defined idolatry as foolishness and it would be easy to see why. Sadly, idols take on many forms and there are many idols that ply for a man’s heart with greater consequences than a piece of wood. Satan is very capable of luring Christians to believe that falling down to a piece of wood is wrong but then allowing their hearts to be filled with the cares of the world and pursuits of life to take their hearts away from God. Idolatry did one thing against God – it took the heart of the people away. Carnality and worldliness are the modern versions of Baal and Asherah.
The church is continually battling against the hearts of brethren who fail to see a need to devote themselves to the cause of Christ. Idol worship takes on many forms today. Immodesty is an idol of fleshly allurement where the heart is more intent on the glare of others than the glow of God. Social drinking is the Asherah of the church where indulgence of the flesh is accepted as part of the Christian’s life. Recreation is of greater importance than diligence to worship the Lord on the first day of the week. Assembling with the saints is only a matter of convenience when vacation or weekend trips come up. Social standings are gods of self-importance. Wealth is the familiar god of temptation that divides churches, destroys families, and drives people to seek after everything that will never go with them in death. The gods of men are of no profit and yet they blindly follow them with great urgency.
There are two choices in life: either a man will seek after something that will bring him great profit or he will follow after dreams that end with empty promises. History is abounding with the bones of failed lives scattered across the expanse of broken promises and failed hopes in the pursuit of what could never be. Men sought after gods that profited them nothing. Only in God can a man find completeness. Hope comes from the only true God. The way of righteousness is right because it has a profit. Its value is found in its author. He gave His only begotten Son to give all men the hope of eternal life. What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and then in death lose his soul? How sad. He followed the wrong path and found no joy. The only path to follow that has value is the way of the Lord. All who walk that road will find life.
Numbers 21:9- How do you relate to this in the context of the idol being made by man. ?
Judges 20:27-28 And the children of Israel enquired of the Lord, (for the ark of the covenant of God was there……..) What was the ark of the covenant used for?
Jonah 1:7 This concerns the casting of lots How was the lots cast and what were the process and tools used to cast lots?
Today, I see the old tradition carried from one generation to another not letting go these practices which still bear fruits if you have the know how.
Thank you for your questions and you made some great observations. In Numbers 21, the Lord instructed Moses to craft the bronze serpent as the symbol of deliverance from the wrath of God. Because of their murmuring, the Lord had sent snakes among the people and many of Israel died. Moses took a pole and put a bronze serpent upon it and if a snake had bitten anyone, when he looked on the bronze serpent, he lived. The question is what did Moses do with the bronze serpent? We find in 2 Kings 18:4, Hezekiah became king of Judah. One of the acts of reform was to destroy the bronze serpent. “He removed the high places and broke the sacred pillars, cut down the wooden image and broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made; for until those days the children of Israel burned incense to it, and called it Nehushtan.” This was nearly 700 years after Moses made the bronze serpent. What God had created as a means of deliverance, the people made into an idol and worshiped it. This was not the plan of the Lord.
The Ark of the Covenant was where God met with the people of Israel. Moses was instructed to build the Ark of the Covenant in Exodus 25:10. It was placed in the Holy of Holies within the Tabernacle and then in the Holy of Holies when Solomon built the Temple. No record is given of its destruction but most likely was taken by Nebuchadnezzar when he destroyed the temple in 586 B. C.
The casting of lots was done by the sailors to see what to do with Jonah. God intervened in the lots to show that Jonah was the problem. This does not suggest that casting lots has any validity since God often used the actions of men to further His purpose (see 1 Samuel 6 for another example).
Thank you for your questions and your interest in a study of God’s word.