September 26 “Parental legalism”

parenting, mother scolding her son with pointed fingerParental legalists often focus on behavior as opposed to the heart. If we make Christianity all about “the law,” we may fail to help our children understand their need for a personal relationship with God.

Today’s Readings:
Isaiah 43 & 44
Psalm 110.1-7
Proverbs 26.5-9
Galatians 4.1-31


Isaiah 43 & 44:

Foolishness of idolatry

In chapter 44.10-17 Isaiah points out the foolishness of idolatry:

10 Who would form a god or mold an image
That profits him nothing? …

12 The blacksmith with the tongs works one in the coals,
Fashions it with hammers,
And works it with the strength of his arms …
13 The craftsman stretches out his rule,
He marks one out with chalk;
He fashions it with a plane,
He marks it out with the compass,
And makes it like the figure of a man,
According to the beauty of a man, that it may remain in the house.
14 He cuts down cedars for himself,
And takes the cypress and the oak;
He secures it for himself among the trees of the forest.
He plants a pine, and the rain nourishes it.

15 Then it shall be for a man to burn,
For he will take some of it and warm himself;
Yes, he kindles it and bakes bread;
Indeed he makes a god and worships it;
He makes it a carved image, and falls down to it.
16 He burns half of it in the fire;
With this half he eats meat;
He roasts a roast, and is satisfied.
He even warms himself and says,
“Ah! I am warm,
I have seen the fire.”
17 And the rest of it he makes into a god,
His carved image.
He falls down before it and worships it,
Prays to it and says,
“Deliver me, for you are my god!”

It’s hard to imagine anyone believing a carved or molded image could help or save them. And yet, that is the deceitfulness of all sin and idolatry! To think that alcohol or drugs or food or spending or something else, while it may bring some temporary pleasure, can actually change anything is just as ridiculous!

To think that wealth or power or position or popularity is going to make us happy in the long run is foolishness. It leaves many asking “Is this all there is?” because, once attained, those things are empty of any ability to fill the real longings of our hearts.

Worse yet, making those things the focus of their lives, seeking to attain them, or trying to hang on to all they can, will ultimately lead many to eternal damnation. Continue reading