“Their land is filled with silver and gold,
and there is no end to their treasures;
their land is filled with horses,
and there is no end to their chariots.
Their land is filled with idols;
they bow down to the work of their hands,
to what their own fingers have made.
So man is humbled,
and each one is brought low—
do not forgive them!
Enter into the rock
and hide in the dust
from before the terror of the LORD,
and from the splendor of his majesty.
The haughty looks of man shall be brought low,
and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled,
and the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.
For the LORD of hosts has a day
against all that is proud and lofty,
against all that is lifted up—and it shall be brought low;
against all the lofty mountains,
and against all the uplifted hills;
against every high tower,
and against every fortified wall;
against all the ships of Tarshish,
and against all the beautiful craft.
And the haughtiness of man shall be humbled,
and the lofty pride of men shall be brought low,
and the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.” Isaiah 2:7-12,14-17
The LORD, who is high and holy, reigns over the seesaw of man. He watches us, thinking ourselves highly important, and through our years and efforts amassing treasures, piling accomplishments, experiences, degrees, material goods, and accolades to give heft to our lives. Actually, instead of elevating us, these weighty idols only abase. To all our pushing to rise, all our collecting and bowing, to our self-made loft and our little-g gods, He says ‘come down.’ His divine gravity rules, and brings us low. He alone is exalted.
One advantage to less structure and more quiet in our lives is the opportunity to contemplate those things with which we fill our ‘land’ of hours. We have time to breathe, to look beyond the immediate and take in the wider view, to consider the likely future of our life if we were to keep on the same trajectory. In this day the Lord of hosts has for us, where are we building, what are we gathering, whom are we worshiping?
What idols is my Lord identifying today? Control and use of my time, just the way I want with no interruptions or outside demands? Possessions that give me a sense of security or self-worth? My identity from what I’ve earned or achieved? My children, my family, my heritage? Do I recognize how I have elevated these things above Him in my attention and affection? Will I stop my swinging up and down on this temporal seesaw, cease the pride and changing values, and gratefully extol the truly exalted One?
“Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast
save in the death of Christ, my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to his blood.” ~Isaac Watts (1707)
O high and lifted up LORD, whose name is holy, pause me and steady me into a proper view of self before You. Loosen my hold on idols of this world that I can cling, with no guile, to You. (Isaiah 57:15)