BURN THE OTHER HALF!
This is a brief reflection on Isaiah 44:9-20. Last year, in my prescribed reading for the day I came to this passage about the folly of idolatry just before thanksgiving and I thought it very appropriate to reflect upon this idea at that time. Isaiah 44 was in yesterday’s reading this year and I have pasted my reflection from last year below.
For what shall we give thanks? I would imagine that we all intend to be thankful to God for his bountiful provision in our lives and that we rejoice in the salvation that he has given us by his lavish grace. We receive his mercies anew each day as we wake and we have breath and life and faith. He is the giver of every good gift according to James 1:17. We receive an income, we enjoy relationships with those we love, we have convenience in transportation and technology, we can express our intimate love with our spouse, we might have children that bless us in a myriad of ways, and the list of his good gifts go on and on.
But what do we do with the gift and what do we actually value? The random and unnamed idolator in this passage from Isaiah receives the blessing and provision of God in the form of rain, trees, growth of a particular tree that he desires, fire that warms him and cooks his food to sustain him. And do you see what his response to this is? If you have not done so yet, stop here and read the passage.
The fool has attached himself to the gift rather than the giver. The fool has burned half of the tree and then worships the other half as a god. This may sound like some random bible story but is this not what we do? Do I not have a heart that is inclined to receive from God and receive from God and my response is to love the thing he is giving me more than him? Do I not construct and idol from the abundance of God’s provision and serve it rather than serving God?
Do I do this with my work? Do I do this with everything on the list of things I say I want to give thanks for on this special day of Thanksgiving?
Resolve to burn the other half. Heavenly Father, giver of all good gifts in my life, keeper of my soul and my King- Give me a heart that loves you above every gift you could ever give and a mind that focuses on you and surrenders to you in all things. Grant me the grace to recognize that you alone are my God and that your provision is meant to bring me to you and not to drive me from you. Let me be faithful to burn the other half of the log and to share what you have given me with others and to offer up to you sacrifice and love offerings. Let me not gather up but let me be poured out and help me to receive with true thanksgiving every day and let me seek you first every day. Let me set down the gift and run to your arms O God with all joy and peace in believing that you are the giver of all good gifts and the keeper of my soul.
Soli Deo Gloria!