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Wow.  You’ve got to love when you’re reading the Word to prepare for one thing and get completely side-swiped by some other, somewhat unrelated passage that leaps off the page, slaps you in the face and sets you to frantically writing out what seems to be your next sermon…

…or, maybe that doesn’t happen to you. 😐

Well, it happened to me recently.  Isaiah 46:9 was the passage I was supposed to be looking at!

“…for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me” (ESV)

Glorious all by itself!

But one of the drawbacks from these pre-packaged Sunday school curriculums is that they tend (not always) to pluck, albeit great passages, somewhat from their very imp0rtant contexts.

So, I always try to make a habit of backing up and reading the entire context in which these golden gems are nestled.

The whole chapter 46 of Isaiah is about the lunacy of idol worship.  The Babylonians were soon to be overthrown by the Persians and the gods that they had fashioned, polished and carried were about to be carried away by Persia on horseback!  The description of the man-made idols uses words that are full of imagery and prepare the reader for a profound contrast between the true and living God of the universe and these utterly dead statues.  Check it out –

[The Idols of Babylon and the One True God]

[46:1] Bel bows down; Nebo stoops;

their idols are on beasts and livestock;

these things you carry are borne

as burdens on weary beasts.

[2] They stoop; they bow down together;

they cannot save the burden,

but themselves go into captivity.

[3] “Listen to me, O house of Jacob,

all the remnant of the house of Israel,

who have been borne by me from before your birth,

carried from the womb;

[4] even to your old age I am he,

and to gray hairs I will carry you.

I have made, and I will bear;

I will carry and will save.

(Isaiah 46:1-4 ESV)

Borne, Carry, Save, Made, Bear – do you see those words?  Do you see that they are used specifically to compare and contrast the dead, foolish idols of Babylon to the living and true God of Israel?!

  1. The Babylonians carried their gods – The God of Israel carries His children
  2. The Babylonian gods are borne as a burden on a weary beast – The God of Israel bears His children, taking the burdens from a weary people.
  3. The Babylonian gods stoop and bow down – The God of Israel is to be bowed down to in worship and praise.
  4. The Babylonian gods cannot save – the God of Israel is the only savior, completely able to rescue His people!

The God of Israel does everything that foolish and worthless idols (Jonah 2:8) cannot do!

He bore His people before their birth, carried them from their mother’s wombs, from youth to old age, He carries them.  He made, He will bear, He will carry, He will save!

Idols cannot make, they cannot give life, they cannot carry, they won’t bear, they cannot save!  Oh, the folly of idols!! (Isaiah 44, Jeremiah 10)

Is it any different today?  No. In fact, the final and ultimate death blow has been dealt to the foolishness of idolatry.

The very creator God himself, came down.  He was manifested in the flesh and made His dwelling among us.  He was the miracle working, teaching, preaching God-Man on his way to the cross to make the once-for-all blood atonement as the glorious lamb of God who takes away sin.

He was killed.  The world thought he was just another man, just another mere mortal that gained a following, but would now lie rotting in a tomb just like all the others that had gone before him.

Ahh, but the story did not end there.  On the third day, death was cast aside and our great God and savior Jesus Christ got up!  He rose from death to life and now reigns victorious as the LIVING, sustaining, bearing, carrying, saving God of the universe!

Idols – dead.

Jesus – alive.

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.

Because He lives, All fear is gone.

Because I know He holds the future,

And life is worth the living just because He lives