January 21, 2016

Isaiah 17:1-14

One of my daughter’s favorite dinners is chicken nuggets. (To be honest: it’s mine too, but she is a good excuse.) On a package of frozen chicken nuggets, there are two cooking instructions: microwave and oven. The microwave instructions take anywhere from 1-2 minutes. The oven takes the time to preheat to 400 degrees and then cook from 11-13 minutes. The microwave is obviously faster, but using the oven tastes so much better.

In the middle of Isaiah 17, specifically in 17:10-11, Israel is being chastised for its worst habit yet again. They have been worshiping idols because it seems to be more effective than God. 17:11 says the plants are growing quickly—blossoming the next morning, it seems. But Isaiah warns against worshiping this plant god. Even though it seems like it is working, the harvest will wither and it will cause more pain than good.

Back to the chicken nuggets. The microwave is quick and mostly effective, but some spots are hotter than others. The oven takes a lot more time but cooks everything evenly.

What does this have to do with idol worship? We think we are sophisticated and have moved past idol worship, but we still have idols. Money, work, maybe even family can become idols. We think those things will help us, and there are times when that fix is pretty quick. They can be our microwave and get the job done fast, but it may not be perfect. God works on his time and according to his plan. It may take slightly longer, but it is so much better. “For you have forgotten the God of your salvation, and have not remembered the rock of your refuge…” (17:10a). Your relationship with God is an oven, not a microwave.