"Their ways are futile and foolish. They cut down a tree and carve an idol. They decorate it with gold and silver and then fasten it securely with hammer and nails so it won't fall over. There stands their god like a helpless scarecrow in a garden! It cannot speak, and it needs to be carried because it cannot walk. Do not be afraid of such gods, for they can neither harm you nor do you any good."
I don't know about you, but I have this built-in mechanism that likes to think that Israel's idolatry - because it was so blatant, physical, and evident - is so much greater than mine. Don't miss that. I admit it. I have idols. And yes, I often think they are much less dangerous to me and far less aggravating to my Creator and Redeemer. Maybe it would help us if scripture actually said things like:
"Your closets are full of clothes you don't wear, while others freeze to death."
"Your homes are filled with HD Plasmas & surround sound - yet you can't seem to see or hear Me when I speak to you and rebuke you."
"How many more iPhones will it take for you to be content?"
"You hang on every word that movie star says and rock star sings, while my Word sits on your shelf, collecting dust.
Jeremiah goes on and proclaims, "The wisest of people who worship idols are stupid and foolish." Ouch! While I am by no means one of the "wisest of people", I don't want to be stupid and foolish either! I don't want the things I'm pursuing and chasing after to be like a "helpless scarecrow in a garden". But the reality is, when I chase after anything other than Christ for satisfaction and worth, it will eventually be exposed for what it really is: a lying, deceiving, empty waste of my time. All those things promise something they cannot deliver.
The hope and truth is always there even in the rebuke.
"Lord, there is no one like you! For you are great, and your name is full of power. Who would not fear you, O King of nations? That title belongs to You alone. Among all the wise people of the earth and in all the kingdoms of the world, there is no one like You!"
Maybe I should stop building these stupid scarecrows.
And start burning the ones in my garden!