Hand-Carved Idols Anyone?

People admire creative talent, don’t they? Home-made gifts always have that special touch and again this Christmas demonstrate an amazing amount of love! Entire industries are built on such ability. What price would you pay for something home-made?

“Hand-carved idols, anyone?” Having served on missions trips in two countries where idols (at least visible ones) abound, I found the LORD’s probing questions heart-searching as He concludes His response to Habakkuk’s second complaint.

Of what value is an idol, since a man has carved it?
Or an image that teaches lies?
For he who makes it trusts in his own creation;
he makes idols that cannot speak.

Woe to him who says to wood, “Come to life?”
Or to lifeless stone, “Wake up!”
Can it give guidance?
It is covered with gold and silver;
there is no breath in it.

On a trip to Kolkata, India we visited the streets where some of the multitude of idols worshipped in Hinduism are made. Some signs proudly declared a family business devoted to idolatry for many generations. Stacks of arms, legs and other body parts filled the stalls waiting to be assembled and built into objects of worship.

Every culture has its idols. In North America our idols are more “sophisticated.” The modern citizen bows to the idol of technology, or prostrates oneself in exhaustion to the god of mammon (money), to name just two.

The tragic questions to Habakkuk reflect the false assurance, useless value, deceptive instruction and vain trust that God’s people were deriving from their false worship. This is not just a 7th century B.C. problem. We “craft” our own objects of worship and break the first and greatest commandment – “Love the LORD your God with ALL your heart and ALL your soul and ALL your strength and ALL your might.”

The aging Apostle John pens a clear warning to the Christ-followers to whom he is writing before the Holy Spirit directs him to put his pen to rest. (1 John 5:21 “Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.“)

May God assist those of us to claim to be “devoted” to prayerfully plead,
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

Having just completed a soul-convicting study of the book of Judges (go to www.calvary.on.ca and look under MEDIA for audio and video links to this series), I’ve rediscovered with William Cowper the truth of his heart searching acknowledgement – “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it; Prone to leave the God I love, Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above!”

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