Where Does Salvation Lie?

Where Does Salvation Lie?

Isaiah 44:9-20

All who fashion idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit. Their witnesses neither see nor know, that they may be put to shame. Who fashions a god or casts an idol that is profitable for nothing?  Behold, all his companions shall be put to shame, and the craftsmen are only human. Let them all assemble, let them stand forth. They shall be terrified; they shall be put to shame together.

The ironsmith takes a cutting tool and works it over the coals. He fashions it with hammers and works it with his strong arm. He becomes hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water and is faint.  The carpenter stretches a line; he marks it out with a pencil. He shapes it with planes and marks it with a compass. He shapes it into the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, to dwell in a house.  He cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it.  Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, “Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!” And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!”

They know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand.  No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, “Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals; I roasted meat and have eaten. And shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?”  He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?”

The English Standard Version of the Bible titles these verses: The Folly of Idolatry”.

Isaiah speaks of how we take man-made objects and give them powers they do not possess.  We turn them into false gods that meet our human expectations.  We do this today just as it was done in the time of Isaiah.  It is done within the conventional organized religions, where symbols are professed to deliver us from evil.  And there are those who claim that some man-made objects can possess evil powers.  These are obvious examples of idolatry.  But many of us fall to the folly of idolatry in a more subtle manner. Continue reading

A Pot Among Earthen Pots

A Pot Among Earthen Pots

Isaiah 45:9-12

“Woe to him who strives with him who formed him,
    a pot among earthen pots!
Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’
    or ‘Your work has no handles’?
Woe to him who says to a father, ‘What are you begetting?’
    or to a woman, ‘With what are you in labor?’”

Thus says the Lord,
    the Holy One of Israel, and the one who formed him:
“Ask me of things to come;
    will you command me concerning my children and the work of my hands?
I made the earth
    and created man on it;
it was my hands that stretched out the heavens,
    and I commanded all their host.

Before I sat down to write this post I read some commentaries about theses verses, in order to get a better understanding of what Isaiah is saying, and to whom these words are directed.

Isaiah is speaking to the Jews who are grumbling against God.  They are complaining about how God has allowed them to be taken into captivity before sending them salvation.  Some of them are wondering why God didn’t just cut out all the drama and turmoil of being enslaved by foreign invaders and just save them from being captured in the first place. Continue reading

Trust In Princes?

Trust In Princes?

Psalm 146:3-4

Put not your trust in princes,
    in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
    on that very day his plans perish.

“Put not your trust in princes”, words to live by, especially in this day and age.

All the princes of today, all of our “leaders”, our “representatives”, are telling us to put our trust in them.  But we should realize they are anything but trust worthy.  They say trust us, we will make your life better, we know what is best for you.  To listen and believe this rhetoric, no matter who it comes from, is pure folly.  As David writes there is no salvation. Continue reading

Why Governments Don’t Want Religion

Why Governments Don’t Want Religion

This morning I read Psalms Chapter 35 Verse 10 which is:

“All my bones shall say ‘O Lord who is like you, delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him, the poor and needy from him who robs him?’”

As soon as I read that verse I had a revelation.

I said to myself, “This is why governments want to rid themselves of religion, or the other extreme, why they want to control the religion of the state.”

This verse, as does God, gives hope to the oppressed which is something the oppressor does not want.

It tells the subjects of the government that there is a higher power, a higher authority.  Governments do not want their subjects to believe that. Continue reading