Passage: Isaiah 44:12–44:23
Trees produce wood, and humans use wood to do all sorts of things--to build houses, to heat houses, to make statues, to cook food, and the list goes on. We use wood, and many other things in the world, to create. Human creativity is a gift from God, a unique and vital part of our human nature. In a sense, we are carrying on God's work of creation, bringing order out of chaos, as God himself called humanity to do at the very dawn of creation.
However, there's a fine line between working alongside God and working instead of God.
One of the greatest themes throughout the Bible is the sin of idolatry. At its root, idolatry is the confusion of created things with the Creator. The Heidelberg Catechism puts it this way: "Idolatry is having or inventing something in which one trusts in place of or alongside of the only true God, who has revealed himself in the Word." Anytime we put our trust, our faith, in anything other than God, we commit idolatry. We confuse the creation with the Creator.
Isaiah 44’s imagery in this regard is striking. A craftsman cuts down a tree; he uses half of it as firewood to cook food, but he carves the other half into an idol, and thanks it for his food. It’s totally ridiculous! But don’t we do the same thing ourselves? We may not pray to idols carved out of wood or stone, but how often do we trust in human creations, instead of in God, for our wellbeing and our security?
Everything we do--everything we create--should bring glory to God. Do the things we do, and things we make, bring glory to God? Or do they do something else?
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