“And you will defile your graven images overlaid with silver, and your molten images plated with gold. You will scatter them as an impure thing, and say to them, ‘Be gone!’ Then He will give you rain for the seed which you will sow in the ground, and bread from the yield of the ground, and it will be rich and plenteous; on that day your livestock will graze in a roomy pasture.” – Isaiah 30:22-23 (NASB)
When we worship things and not God, our access to life giving resources may be compromised. It happened to the Israelites when they chose to worship graven images – idols – instead of turning to the one true God. When they did, rain became scarce as did their harvests. But this isn’t a problem limited to agrarian societies thousands of years ago. And just because we don’t spend our Saturday afternoons carving out graven images to worship doesn’t mean we can’t find ourselves in the same predicament.
Today our idols come pre-made. The ever present flow of media constantly serves up images to be worshiped. And our culture has made an art out of creating images for just about everything from pride to power to “true” happiness and success. We see these images flash before us and we're drawn towards them. Every image starts with a glimmer of the true greatness of the Creator, so it can be tricky at times to resist. The things some people will sacrifice and invest to attain what they see on the screen or the stage is unspeakable. But it happens all the time. And then we wonder why things aren’t working out the way we had hoped or imagined. Or the way God said they should. And we start to blame him. It’s a horrible spiral.
But Isaiah told the people if they got rid of their idols, renounced them and turned back to God, the Lord would send rain. He would increase the work of their hands. What they sowed, he would bless. He would take care of their wealth and their health.
It’s the same for us. We’ve got to turn off the images rushing before our eyes long enough each day to be able to truly set our eyes on Jesus. We become what we worship, so we’ve got to be so very intentional about what we’re worshipping. It can be tricky. Sometimes the only way to be sure we’re not worshipping things is to keep our eyes off of everything but Jesus. Sometimes a media fast is in order.
If we will turn our eyes to Jesus and remember the great things he has done, and receive the love he has shed abroad in our hearts, we will find the rain of his Presence and provision. God will rain on the heart that seeks him. And when he rains on us, he rains on what we sow. He will produce an increase in us – both in our hearts and in the works of our hands – when we put him first and worship only him.