Wisdom’s Corner No. 24: The Foolishness of Idolatry

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“But the most miserable people of all are those who rest their hopes on lifeless things, who worship things that have been made by human hands – images of animals artistically made from gold and silver, or some useless stone carved by someone years ago.  A skilled woodworker may have saw down some suitable tree, carefully strip off the bark, and then with skillful craftsmanship, make from it an object that will serve some useful purpose.  He will take the leftover pieces and use them as firewood to cook a meal that he can sit down to and enjoy.  But among that scrap wood he may take one piece that isn’t good for anything–maybe it’s crooked and full of knots–and carefully carve it in his leisure time, using spare moments to shape it into the crude image of a person, or maybe of worthless animals.  He paints it all over with red , covering up every flaw in the work.  Then he prepares a suitable place in the wall for it and fastens it in place with iron nails.. He is careful to keep it from falling, because he knows it is only an idol and needs help; it cannot help itself.  But he is not ashamed to pray to this lifeless thing about his marriage, his children and his possessions.  It is weak, but he prays to it for health.  It is dead, but he prays to it for life.  It has no experience, but he prays to it for help.  It cannot walk, but he prays to it for a successful journey.  Its hands have no power, but he asks it to help him–in business, in making money, and in his works.”

Wisdom 13

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