We desire power. Authority. The right to determine that which is good and holy. Problem is that this belongs to One, the One. Try as we may to rest it from Him it’s like a short man trying to punch a tall man. As long as the reach factor exists the vertically challenged individual will never get close enough to strike.
A common theme which has run through Jehovah’s warnings to Israel in our Sunday morning sermon series through the closing word from Moses in Deuteronomy is that there is no other living Deity than the one true and living God. In a sense these curses are based off the great Shema found back in Deuteronomy 6:4: Hear O Israel, the LORD your God is One. The challenge He makes to His covenant people is that are they going to live and move and have their being based on their relationship to the Creator of Heaven and Earth or are they going to create gods for themselves based off of their fleshly desires and wants? To paraphrase Margaret Thatcher, there is no alternative. You will either serve Mammon or God.
As we’ve heard each of the promises of death and destruction we’ve noticed that they perfectly parallel each of the beatitudes that came at the beginning of the sermon. We all want peace. How we get there is going to be God’s way, or no way. In other words if we think that we can discern a path towards that goal which looks different than what is laid out for us in the Scriptures than we are fooling ourselves, and the Lord will give us over to the natural consequences of our desires. That is one of the reasons why the picture of the false gods given for example in Isaiah 46 is of man-made objects of stone and wood. The power and authority of Dagon in 1 Samuel 5 is based off the willingness of his priests to put him back together. The strength of Ahab exists as long as Jezebel endorses him and supports his rule.
The prophets of Israel were known to mock and deride the obvious ridiculousness of placing one’s faith in false idols, Elijah’s words at Mount Carmel probably the most well-known. Yet probably the most effecting example is Isaiah’s in Chapter 44 of his book. There we have a guy who is a lumberjack of some sorts who happens to be done with work one day. He has been raising up this pine from seed and it being ready for the harvest he cuts it down. Dispensing with part of it for one reason or another he then makes a fire, readies some food, and while waiting for it all to be prepared picks up a portion of the leftover wood and begins to carve an idol. What he does next is astonishing to the man with ears to hear.