do they terrify you?

“Are you afraid of these idols?
Do they terrify you?
Is that why you have lied to me
and forgotten me and my words?
Is it because of my long silence
that you no longer fear me?
Now I will expose your so-called good deeds.
None of them will help you.
Let’s see if your idols can save you
when you cry to them for help.
Why, a puff of wind can knock them down!
If you just breathe on them, they fall over!
But whoever trusts in me will inherit the land
and possess my holy mountain.”

I’m not sure what terrifies me.

Most of us worry about all sorts of things, I think. We look to the future with uncertainty, never really knowing what it holds, and often trying to hedge our bets as much as we can. One side of God we don’t often like to talk about is his terrifying nature – the God who Isaiah and so many others saw with fear and trembling. In our society, God is either a harmless looking man from a painting or flannel board, or a nasty little inconvenience to doing what we want. I think that in many ways, there are very few of us who take God really seriously.

Our idols, on the other hand, are extremely important to us. We don’t really see them as idols, of course. Even when we mention them as such, it’s often just a passing comment – something we do because we need to draw some connection between idolatry and modern life. As I think about life and reflect on this passage, God’s question comes back – Do they terrify you?

When I think of the things I worry the about, the things I lose sleep over the most, the things that occupy my thoughts… are they not my idols, all comfortably in place to give my life value and worth and, dare I say it, save me? My money, my success, my friends, my family, my good deeds, my reputation – am I afraid of losing them? A puff of wind can knock them down.

Why do these things have such a hold on our lives? Why do we allow it?

May we trust in you, God.
May we trust in you.

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