Christian Devotionals

"Worshipping Wood "

While reading in the Book of Isaiah, I came across a passage that revealed a new side of God to me. Not that God is doing something new or acting differently, He’s the immutable, unchangeable God of the universe. Yet, in the following passage, God has a – dare I say this – sarcastic tone. First of all, who am I to call someone sarcastic – me, the king of sarcasm? Nonetheless, please read it for yourself and see if you find traces of sarcasm. I’ll preface this by telling you that God is referring to a man who goes out into the forest to cut down a tree.

15Then he uses part of the wood to make a fire. With it he warms himself and bakes his bread. Then—yes, it’s true—he takes the rest of it and makes himself a god to worship! He makes an idol and bows down in front of it! 16 He burns part of the tree to roast his meat and to keep himself warm. He says, “Ah, that fire feels good.” 17 Then he takes what’s left and makes his god: a carved idol! He falls down in front of it, worshiping and praying to it. “Rescue me!” he says. “You are my god!”
Isaiah 44:15-17 (New Living Translation)

Do you see what I mean about sarcasm? For the record, God has every right to feel this way. First, He’s the sovereign God of all creation who answers to no one, and secondly, because the situation warrants some “sarcasm.” You see the Israelites, God’s chosen people, had forgotten some basic information: there is only one true God and He’s not some totem pole god that you chisel out of a hunk of cedar. Despite all of God’s great miracles, centuries of His protection and provision, and the Ten Commandments forbidding such behavior, the Israelites of Isaiah’s day chose to worship idols. What’s ironic is the haphazard and cavalier attitude of this particular idol worshipper in this passage. “Hey, here’s a great log. I’ll burn part of it as fuel and worship the rest of it!” Talk about being clueless. This guy was literally worshipping and praying to leftover firewood.

Are we any better? You might say, “At least I don’t worship lumber.” Oh yeah, what about people who worship their houses? In our culture, people have made houses – made of wood, concrete and drywall – their god. You probably think that this is a stretch, but it’s true. Anything that we put before God, whether it be our careers, our children or our homes, is an idol. When we regularly miss church because we have yard work or a home improvement project to do, we’re putting those things before God. We’re choosing to worship at the alter of an idol (made of lumber). When our quiet time with God gets last priority in our busy day and we consistently pass on the Lord, we’re making those other activities idols. Of course we need to work, do chores and care for our families, but why is it that God always gets the short end of the stick? Would we even consider passing on that golf match or favorite television program in order to be with the Lord? Usually the answer is no. Lately, I’ve been guilty of this as well. I’m not sleeping well, so I’m rising later in the morning. To make up for lost time, I either shorten my quiet time with God or skip it altogether. Do I skip my morning workout at the gym in order to make time for God? Not usually. The Lord brought this to my attention and now I’m doing something about it. If I get a late start on my day, I’ll either shorten my workout or do a full devotion with God during my lunch hour. I’m also going to bed earlier and waking up earlier. What a novel idea.

Hopefully this is getting you to think about some changes needed in your routine. The Father gave us His very best: His Son, Jesus. I’m sure that Jesus could have come up with a billion other things to do rather than get brutalized by pagans and nailed to a cross. Yet, He chose to do that out of love for His Father and love for us. God isn’t asking you to sacrifice your son or daughter, but He is asking you to put Him first in your busy life. What I’m finding is that He’s absolutely worth the sacrifice.

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