When you read through the Old Testament, one of the themes that you see rather clearly is the theme of the Lord our God versus the idols of the nations. Although the idols of the nations are images and items that you could actually put your hands on, our invisible (yet ever-present) Lord defeats them every time.
In fact, He sometimes comments on how laughable it is. These idols of wood and stone, these works of men's hands, are so easily defeated.
And they are.
Perhaps because they are so fragile.
Anyone who has ever owned something precious to them knows how difficult it can be to figure out what to do with something that you never want broken. Do you put it in a prominent place where you can always see it, where you will enjoy it, where it will be a centerpiece of your decor, but where even the slightest bump or breeze threatens to topple it and send it crashing in pieces to the floor? Or do you put it up somewhere safer where it is out of the way, but where you won't see it as often and it won't be central to your space?
This has to be the problem that ancient persons had with their idols, doesn't it? Do I put my idol where I can worship it...or do I put it where it can't be broken?
Remember what happened when the presence of the Lord came adjacent to the idol of Dagon. The worshipers of Dagon kept waking up to find their idol bowed down, toppled under the power of the one true God. They kept setting it back up only to find it toppled again until their idol's hands and feet broke off and it had nothing left to stand on. Rather, they had nothing left to stand it on.
Israel just laughs about all of this. Look at those nations, depending upon their idols. Don't they know? Haven't they heard?
It's how Hezekiah can be so confident when his enemies are taunting his army. They aren't taunting his men; they are taunting his God, claiming that no other god has been able to stand up against them, so how can anyone believe the Lord God of Israel will be able to? But the answer it's simple. It's because all these other gods are mere idols, the work of men's hands, and a strong wind could blow them over.
The Lord God of Israel, on the other hand, is the strong wind. And if you don't believe that, then just stand in front of His people and taunt Him for a minute.
I was reading some of these passages lately, and I was thinking about how silly it is that we form such fragile things with our hands and then put so much importance on them. I was thinking about what God repeatedly says, which is how easily these things are defeated in our lives. How quickly they fail us. And I was thinking that was true.
But then I was thinking...what about, not the works of our hands, but the works of our hearts? What about the strong places that we build up inside our fragile egos? These...don't seem so easily defeated for some reason. These seem harder to break, almost impossible to tear down. A strong wind blows against them and somehow, they seem to lean into it.
What's up with that?
(It's something we'll talk about more this week.)