Summary: The OT has a lot of interesting stories about idolatry, but is that really just a problem of the past? This sermon addresses the very real problem that our culture has in worshiping our own desires above all else.
To the reader: What inspired this sermon was a quote I read in R.C. Ortlund’s book, When God Comes To Church, p. 194.
"Self is the great idol standing at the center of our conceptual world, to which all bow low. We even have a duty-to-self ethic, as if self-denial were harmful, immoral, and deviant. ’I owe it to myself to be happy, to grow as a person, to discover myself, to fulfill my potential, to caress my victimhood, to get in touch with my feelings, even if it hurts you. I’m drowning in my duties. If I don’t break free, I’ll die.’ For the Christian, what happened to the all-sufficiency of Christ?"
INTRO: Some of my favorite Bible passages are the ones that point out the futility of Idol worship.
I can’t even imagine taking a piece of wood, or stone, or metal, and talking to it, or acting like it has anything to do with the direction of my life…can you?
(USE ILLUS IF YOU HAVE A wood carving or statue…talk to it about your day)
-One of my favorites is in Isaiah 44….OPEN THERE.
There has been a surge lately among some of the leading Atheists to push down Christianity.
-They will insist that what the Bible teaches is SO illogical…it DEFIES reason.
- I don’t think you’ll find any better common sense thinking than what is in Isaiah 44.
-Isaiah has observed people who not only worship idols, but who make idols!
-Listen as he describes this process for us:
-Isaiah has such a good sense of irony!
-A guy picks out a tree, or even plants the tree himself. Over the years, it is watered, and it grows.
- He cuts down there tree. He uses half of it for firewood, then he takes the other half of it, he cuts it and whittles it until it resembles a person, then he bows down to it!
-Isaiah seems so frustrated, “How can any rational person worship something that they themselves built?”
-Isn’t it a good thing that none of us worships something like this? We don’t, do we?
Isn’t it easy to see why something like this would make God angry?
What about the Golden Calf in Exodus?
-Moses had gone up to Mt. Sinai to receive the very commandments of God. Word for Word, God would specifically say what he wanted people to do, and how he wanted them to live.
-Along with this, God approached in a huge dark cloud, and shot thunder bolts, so that the people would hear and tremble at his presence.
- God spends several days, explaining everything he wants to Moses.
-This represents one of the most significant events that every happened in human history. God then writes down all his desires, carving them directly into stone tablets…they couldn’t laminate paper yet, back then
-Moses takes the holy tablets…the very words of God, touched by God…and Joshua begins a walk down the mountain with him…and they start hearing something.
-Joshua says, “It sounds like war!” They turn round the corner, and everyone’s up dancing the Macarena around an enormous gold cow!!!
-At the very time when God was showing his closeness to them, they were too impatient to sit there and be reverent.