How foolish are those who manufacture idols. These prized objects are really worthless. The people who worship idols don’t know this, so they are all put to shame. Who but a fool would make his own god—an idol that cannot help him one bit? All who worship idols will be disgraced along with all these craftsmen—mere humans—who claim they can make a god. They may all stand together, but they will stand in terror and shame. . . .
Such stupidity and ignorance! Their eyes are closed, and they cannot see. Their minds are shut, and they cannot think. The person who made the idol never stops to reflect, “Why, it’s just a block of wood! I burned half of it for heat and used it to bake my bread and roast my meat. How can the rest of it be a god? Should I bow down to worship a piece of wood?” The poor, deluded fool feeds on ashes. He trusts something that can’t help him at all. Yet he cannot bring himself to ask, “Is this idol that I’m holding in my hand a lie?”
(Isaiah 44:9-11, 18-20)
Isaiah describes how people made their own gods. He points out the absurdity of sweating and toiling to create a god that you can bow to and worship. What good is a god made by your own hands? As good as firewood, in Isaiah’s view.
It makes more sense to serve and worship the one who created us than to worship the things we’ve created.
When it’s wood, stone, or metal, it’s easy to see our idols. It’s easy to recognize the foolishness of worshiping something we’ve made with our own hands. But what are the things we’ve sweated and toiled over? Technology, government, movies, music. And there are other things we didn’t make but can spend our lives on: nature and people, for example.
Do Isaiah’s words apply in these situations? We deceive ourselves if we trust in any of these things to give us hope or purpose.
Only when we trust God first can any of these secondary things be worth our time and effort. There is great benefit in all these things, but if they become the source of our hope, we might as well be chiseling firewood.