TO CHEW ON: “They shall be turned back,
They shall be greatly ashamed,
Who trust in carved images,
Who say to the molded images
‘You are our gods.’” Isaiah 42:17.
This section of Isaiah 42, says my Bible’s study notes, is a “… lament looking back on the disobedience that led to God’s judging anger. The fundamental problem leading to the judgments was trust in carved images (Isaiah 42:17)” - Nathaniel M. Van Cleave, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible notes on Isaiah, p. 992.
Here at the beginning of a new year, the internet is full of hints on how to make resolutions that we’ll keep and goals that we’ll accomplish. The pristine calendars of 2017 ooze with optimism. So much could fill their pages!
For me there is in this a temptation to a 21st century brand of idolatry—not of the worship of molded images but of the worship of oneself—one’s own abilities, determination, agenda, 5-year-plan, productivity.
Now I’m not against writing down resolutions and goals for the new year. But I must always guard against making them and the accomplishing of them the main thing. I realize that what must trump them for me is the willingness to change all, or maybe not to make them in the first place, when the shepherd says something different.
My “one little word” for 2017 is LISTEN. My verses for 2017 are the words of Jesus in John 10:3,4,11: “‘To him (the shepherd of the sheep - John 10:2) the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. … I am the good shepherd.’”
May all my / our idolatrous supports and confidences for 2017 lose their siren appeal as we listen for and obey the Shepherd’s voice.
“Get into the habit of saying, ‘Speak Lord’ and life will become a romance” - Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest - January 30 reading.
“Obey Him with glad reckless joy … ‘Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it’” - Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, March 28 reading.
PRAYER: Dear Father, help me to recognize the idols in my life and turn from them for good. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.