During the Christmas season I had a great run in the Scriptures. I am not bragging, I am just thankful that I could steal away the time and not have it taken back from me.
I first spent some time in Hosea, then Habakkuk, and now I am in Isaiah. I had a prompting to read Isaiah and last night I heard some stories that tied in well with what God was using the prophet Isaiah to point out to the Israelis about idolatry.
We visited Ganta and Sandhya last night. Ganta’s parents were in from India and during the Christmas season they had taken a trip to visit Ganta’s sister and brother-in-law in Arkansas. Ganta and Sandhya have individually great stories of coming to Christ from agnosticism and the Hindu culture of their home country.
Ganta and Sandhya have been Jesus followers for some time now. A couple of years back their brother-in law (I will call him Bill) visited them in Dallas where they lived. Because it was a couple of days before Christmas they approached Bill with the idea that they definitely had plans to go to church services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. They didn’t want him left alone so they invited him to come with them. He accepted their invitation. That particular year he had instructed his wife, who was a Christian and still in India, not to go to church at Christmas. Ganta and Sandhya and Bill went to 3 worship services as it turns out on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. That lead to conversations about Christianity and Hinduism. The conversation got to the point where the Bill was asking why Ganta and Sandhya believed in the one God. They gave him several reason but he shrugged off each one saying that he just needed more or the logic they used just did not make sense to him. Bill also told them that his gods speak to him and tell him what to do. He liked that they communicated with him.
Sandhya, the wife, finally told the Bill that she believed God could speak to him. Sure, they had their reasons for believing in Jesus, the one God, but since the idols talked to Bill then he should expect that Jesus would come to him and speak to him as well. They left it at that and moved on.
Several months later, Bill called Ganta and Sandhya up and said that he wanted to talk. He said he believed God spoke to him. He saw “praying hands” in a dream and he knew that was a Christian symbol and not a Hindu symbol. He said that he also heard words in the dream, “Follow me!” That was it. Just a simple dream. We all have dreams right? This dream really shook Bill because of what Sandhya had said to him as they ended the conversation about why they believe in Jesus. He was so shook by the dream that he destroyed the idols in his home. He just began to feel uneasy about them being there. He did not accept Jesus right away but did eventually come around to understanding that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.
Another factor was Bill’s mother. Bill’s mother was a Christian and had prayed for him many years. I believe that Bill may have connected the praying hands in the dream to his mother’s efforts to see him become a Jesus follower.
I asked Aman, Ganta’s father, how it happened that they arranged their daughter to marry Bill(in India most all marriages are arranged). Aman said that Bill was respected and was in a good profession and had good prospects for the future. That made their daughter well-respected and they knew she would be taken care of. It did not seem that Aman and his wife took into consideration that Bill was Hindu(and their daughter was Christian).
How does Bill’s story tie to Isaiah? In Isaiah 44 God deals head on with idolatry among his people. He shows the futility of believing in another god. The prophet’s conclusion is: any idol worshiper has a deluded heart and cannot deliver himself from the idol. Only God can deliver him. See Isaiah 44: 20 …”a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself…”
In Isaiah 46, God affirms His supremacy over anything made of wood, gold, or iron.
..for I am God, and there is no other,
I am God and there is none like me… 46:9
…I have spoke, and I will bring it to pass;
I have purposed, and I will do it. 46:11
God thinks of idolatry as folly! If we assess our lives, will we find idolatry?