(18) What will you find that is like God? To what example will you compare him?
(19) Will it be an idol that a craftsman casts, and a refiner overlays with gold, and then decorates with silver?
(20) Or will it be an image of the best wood, chosen wood that will not rot?
Will you seek out a skilled craftsman for it, to create an idol that will not be moved? — Isaiah 40:18-20
(6) Each worker helps his neighbor, And says “Be Strong!” to his companion.
(7) The craftsman strengthens the smith, the hammerer strikes and smooths it.
He says to the solderer, “It’s good!”
Then he fastens it securely with nails, so that it will not be moved. — Isaiah 41:6-7 *
(21) Haven’t you always known? Haven’t you heard? Has it not been told you from the start?
Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
(22) He is the one who sits above the dome of the world, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a veil, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. — Isaiah 40:21-22
I have a number of pictures hanging in my office. Quite a number of them are from my grandchildren. I love those pictures. It’s not because they are great art. It’s because of who made them. I can picture them lovingly bent over the paper with crayons, coloring the picture and sending them off to Poppa.
Now if you were to come to my office, and I said to you with a straight face, â€œThese are great art. Someday they will hang in famous galleries, and fetch millions of dollars,â€ you would quite rightly laugh at me. â€œProud grandfather has gone around the bend,â€ you’d say. And you’d be right. I don’t want to limit my grandchildren. If they so desire, any one of them may become a great artist. But they haven’t done so yet.
In our passages today I see God looking down on us with pity, as we make our childish impressions of what a god should be like, figuratively using the coloring book pages and crayons of our lives to create something secure, something dependable, something that will not fail. We choose the best stuff, the best insurance company, the best vehicle we can afford, the best financial institutions, even the best churches and pastors to depend on. But after all that what we produce is refrigerator art. We don’t even match up to what the creator creates!
Now as long as we realize that, I suspect God hangs our work on a heavenly refrigerator, smiles, and says, â€œMy children are really working hard. They’re doing their best, and they’re growing. Look! That latest picture actually has most of the color between the lines!â€
But when we turn around and declare that what we made is not merely great artâ€”a shocking idea in itselfâ€”but even more declare it to be the artist, imagine how that makes him feel?
But it’s not just that God feels bad, or angry, that we’ve compared him to our not very great creations. He knows that we are trying to depend on those not very good creations for our livelihood and our security. That is the most serious problem.
One of the most pitiful verses in scripture is found in the book of Judges. Micah made some images, acquired a priest to help him worship them properly, and then some tougher guys than he was came and stole them. He chases after them. After all, what will he do without his gods? Think about it! He’s rescuing his gods after they’ve been kidnappedâ€”or godnapped.
(18) And he said, “You took my gods, which I made, and my priest, and you left! What more do I have?” — Judges 18:18a
Can your god be godnapped?
*Note: The Revised English Bible places these verses in this position in its translation. I do not support that position. They work quite well in chapter 41 describing what the nations do to resist God. I placed them in this position here to combine the various things said about idols in the two chapters.