5 Setting the Context: Who is Isaiah? A Major ProphetHis ministry in Israel lasted for more than 40 years and extended through the reign of at least four different kings!The first part of Isaiah (1-39) primarily deals with Israel’s wickedness and the impending Judgment of God through surrounding pagan nations.
6 Setting the Context: Who is Isaiah? The second part of Isaiah (40-66) talks primarily about the future and how God would redeem and restore Israel through the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ.His name means “Yahweh is salvation.”
7 Setting the Context: Putting Our Passage in Its Place The passage comes at the end of a section where God speaks to Israel about their special relationship to Him.He also speaks about His relationship to all of creation as its sole Creator.
8 Setting the Context: Putting Our Passage in Its Place His stated purpose is to encourage Israel not to fear, but to put their trust and hope in God’s unrivalled faithfulness and majesty.It is at this point that the passage turns to the Israelites’ ongoing struggle with the sin of idolatry.
10 The Folly of Idolatry The Earthly Source of Idols (11-16) Verses 11-12: Idol makers are mere human beings.“Craftsmen are nothing but men.”“He takes a tool and works with it in the coals; he shapes an idol with hammers, he forges it with the might of his arm.”
11 The Folly of Idolatry The Earthly Source of Idols (11-16) Verse 12: Idol makers become weary and weak and must eat and drink in order to remain strong.“The blacksmith gets hungry and loses his strength; he drinks no water and grows faint.”
12 The Folly of Idolatry The Earthly Source of Idols (11-16) Verse 13: Idols are made by the power and in the image of mere human beings.“The carpenter measures with a line and makes an outline with a marker; he roughs it out with chisels and marks it with compasses.”“He shapes it in the form of a man, of man in all his glory.”
13 The Folly of Idolatry The Earthly Source of Idols (11-16) Verse 14: Idols are made from things that mere humans did not and cannot create.“He cut down cedars, or perhaps took a cypress or oak. He let it grow among the trees of the forest, or planted a pine, and the rain made it grow.”
14 The Folly of Idolatry The Earthly Source of Idols (11-16) Verses 15-16: The materials used for making idols are perishable.“It is man’s fuel for burning. Half of the wood he burns in the fire.”
15 The Folly of Idolatry The Idle Purpose of Idols (10, 17, 19-20) Verse 10: Idols cannot help those who trust in them.“Who shapes a god and casts an idol, which can profit him nothing?”
16 The Folly of Idolatry The Idle Purpose of Idols (10, 17, 19-20) Verses 17, 19-20: Idols only deceive and are powerless to save.“From [one half he makes food and keeps warm], the rest he makes a god, his idol; he bows down to it and worships. He prays to it and says, ‘Save me; you are my god.’ Shall I bow down to a block of wood?’ He feeds on ashes; he cannot save himself or say, ‘Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?’”
17 The Folly of Idolatry The Degrading Power of Idols (9, 11, 18) Verse 9: Idol makers are blind and ignorant.“All who make idols are nothing, and the things they treasure are worthless. Those who would speak up for them are blind; they are ignorant to their own shame.”
18 The Folly of Idolatry The Degrading Power of Idols (9, 11, 18) Verse 11: Idolaters will be destroyed.“He and his kind will be put to shame. Let them all come together and take their stand; they will be brought down to terror and infamy.”
19 The Folly of Idolatry The Degrading Power of Idols (9, 11, 18) Verse 18: Idolaters lack understanding and insight.“They know nothing, they understand nothing; their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see, and their minds closed so they cannot understand.”
20 Psalm 115:4-8“Idols are made by the hands of men. They have mouths but cannot speak, eyes but they cannot see; they have ears, but cannot hear, noses but they cannot smell; they have hands, but cannot feel, feet but they cannot walk; nor can they utter a sound with their throats. Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.”
21 What is the attraction? Some Insight from Romans 1 Idolatry offers human beings the opportunity to thank and glorify no one but themselves (Romans 1:21)Idolatry offers human beings the opportunity to declare no one but themselves to be wise (Romans 1:22)
22 What is the attraction? Some Insight from Romans 1 Idolatry offers human beings the opportunity to reflect the image of no one but themselves (Romans 1:23)Idolatry offers human beings the opportunity to live immoral lives accountable and in submission to no one but themselves (Romans 1:24-32)
23 What is the attraction? Some Insight from Romans 1 Idolatry strokes our personal pride.Idolatry gives us a false sense of moral freedom.Idolatry gives us a false sense of being in control.
24 Some Perspective for Us from J. S. Bach and G. F. Handel
25 Modern Idolatry: The Gods of Our Age What are some of the gods of our age?What do we put our hope and trust in to find comfort, peace, and deliverance?What do we love more than God?
26 Modern Idolatry: The Gods of Our Age “Do not turn away after useless idols. They can do you no good, nor can they rescue you, because they are useless.”—1 Samuel 12:21
27 Modern Idolatry: The Gods of Our Age One Recent Example: The 1991 Gulf War
28 Psalm 20:7-8“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.”
29 Conclusion and Application Idolatry is alive and well in the modern era.Modern idols are no less foolish, futile, and degrading today than they were in ancient times.We will become like the things that we value, care about, and so ultimately worship.The solution to the dehumanizing effects of idolatry is to worship the one true God.