The Futility of Idols.
21 Set forth your case, says the LORD;
bring your proofs, says the King of Jacob.
22 Let them bring them, and tell us
what is to happen.
Tell us the former things, what they are,
that we may consider them,
that we may know their outcome;
or declare to us the things to come.
23 Tell us what is to come hereafter,
that we may know that you are gods;
do good, or do harm,
that we may be dismayed and terrified.
24 Behold, you are nothing,
and your work is less than nothing;
an abomination is he who chooses you.
25 I stirred up one from the north, and he has come,
from the rising of the sun, and he shall call upon my name;
he shall trample on rulers as on mortar,
as the potter treads clay.
26 Who declared it from the beginning, that we might know,
and beforehand, that we might say, "He is right"?
There was none who declared it, none who proclaimed,
none who heard your words.
27 I was the first to say to Zion, "Behold, here they are!"
and I give to Jerusalem a herald of good news.
28 But when I look, there is no one;
among these there is no counselor
who, when I ask, gives an answer.
29 Behold, they are all a delusion;
their works are nothing;
their metal images are empty wind.
Journal: It is almost comical here to read how God deals with the gods created by the hands of men. He implores them to do something, anything, to break the monotony of staring at a material object. [v. 23 -- "Tell us what is to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods; do good, or do harm, that we may be dismayed and terrified."] It reminds of the taunting nature used by Elijah when he challenged the prophets of Baal on behalf of the living God. [1 Kings 18:25-29 -- "Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, "Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire." So they took the bull given them and prepared it. Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. "O Baal, answer us!" they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made. At noon Elijah began to taunt them. "Shout louder!" he said. "Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened." So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention."]
The end result is that the gods are useless and meaningless. Not only that, but the man who worships that thing, whatever that thing looks like, is an "abomination." [v. 24 -- "Behold, you are nothing, and your work is less than nothing; an abomination is he who chooses you."] What is "that thing" in my life that I tend to worship? Is my statue my profession, or my stuff, or my hobby? It could even be my family, if I am placing their needs above the glory of God. I think of how in our culture so many families let sports activities erode the setting apart of the Sabbath, all in the name of family involvement and activity. I am afraid that much of the things that we do are an "empty wind" to God. [v. 29 -- "Behold, they are all a delusion; their works are nothing; their metal images are empty wind."]
I must be in deep meditation and prayer in this regard, so that I might be able to choose that which glorifies over that which occupies. He desires that I labor, but my labor should be for His glory. He desires that I relax, but my relaxation should be for His glory. He desires that I accumulate wisely, but my accumulation should be for His glory. All of my work, and my play, and my stuff, are secondary, for I must be willing to set it aside, all of it, for His greater glory.