“Shall a man make gods unto himself?”

Isaiah 44:9-20

One of the most telling satires upon the worship of idols is to be found in the book of the prophet Isaiah.

Isaiah 44:9-12

They that make a graven image are all of them vanity; and their delectable things or favourite idols

If they had any sort of sense they would themselves testify to the uselessness of their idols. They will not allow their minds to be disabused, or else their own experience would undeceive them;

These mighty good-for-nothing gods, when are they made divine? at what period become they worthy of adoration?

The stupid idol and its senseless votaries shall be alike laughed to scorn. Let both makers and worshippers, and all who have a hand in the business, come forth and answer a few questions which will shame them:

The prophet commences with the last workman from whom the idol comes, he takes us to the smith’s forge, when the coating of precious metal is fashioned. But this maker of gods has human weaknesses, he is thirsty, and having no water he faints. A mighty god-maker this! Surely the god is not in the craftsman’s shop.

Isaiah 44:13

Now he goes a little further back, to the place where the frame-work of the idol is made, and shews us the carpenter with his line, plane and chisel; surely amid this pencilling and marking no trace of god-head is visible.

Isaiah 44:14

Lest it should be imagined that there was some antecedent sacredness in the wood before it came into the shop, the prophet takes us a step further and shows it to us growing, planted and watered like other trees.

Isaiah 44:15

Here we see the timber felled, and, lo, it serves the double purpose of baking bread and making a god.

Isaiah 44:16-17

One portion of the tree cooks meat, and blazes on the hearth till men are gladdened with the blaze, the rest is addressed in pleading tones, “Deliver me, for thou art my god.” O sottish stupidity!

Isaiah 44:18

Surely a judicial blindness is over the minds of idolaters. If men were men, and not lovers of sin, they would give up this absurdity.

Isaiah 44:20

Man has fallen so low through sin that he makes food for himself of that which is unsubstantial as the wind; his reason is perverted, his love of sin has blinded him, he believes lies which are as palpable in their falsehood as if they lay in his open palm. O Lord, have pity on man’s madness, and save him from himself. Amen.



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