19 No one stops to think, no one has the knowledge or understanding to say,
“Half of it I used for fuel; I even baked bread over its coals, I roasted meat and I ate.
Shall I make a detestable thing from what is left? Shall I bow down to a block of wood?”
20 Such a person feeds on ashes; a deluded heart misleads him; he cannot save himself, or say,
“Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?”
This chapter has three sections, Israel the Chosen (verses 1-5), The Lord, Not Idols (verses 6-23), and Jerusalem to be Inhabited (verses 24-28). It is the second section we are interested in today, but are worth your time to read and think on.
For clarities sake, we want to mention these are the Lord’s words in the verses above and verse six makes this clear with this opening declaration:
“This is what the Lord says—Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty:
I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.
God is making the point about how ignorant, unaware, and deluded one has to be to worship something handmade. He makes the point that half of it is used for fuel; even used for baking bread or roasting meat. Yet a person will bow down to a block of wood! How incredibly foolish and the person deceives himself or herself with no one else to blame. Consider what God has to say in a few of the preceding verses:
16 Half of the wood he burns in the fire; over it he prepares his meal, he roasts his meat and eats his fill.
He also warms himself and says, “Ah! I am warm; I see the fire.”
17 From the rest he makes a god, his idol; he bows down to it and worships.
He prays to it and says, Save me! You are my god!”
18 They know nothing, they understand nothing; their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see,
and their minds closed so they cannot understand.
In Isaiah we find out much of this was going on and it still goes on today with different idols such as wealth (money), possessions, status, keeping up with the Jones or Smiths or … . Maybe it is fishing or hunting or shopping, or football or basketball, or clothes or the newest car or fastest car. There are so many idols we are able to chose while ignoring the Lord Almighty.
Not mentioned is another problem with what so many Israelites were doing and what so many are doing today – namely violating God’s first two commandants – from Exodus 20
3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
It is a dangerous thing to have other gods before Him or to make an image of something to worship, bowing down to it