A CARVED WORSHIP
“What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols? Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach! Behold, it is laid over with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in the midst of it. But the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.” Habakkuk 2:18-20 (KJV).
We will be dealing with the fifth and final woe in this portion of our study. “Woe” seems such a dreadful word. If we take it for what it was meant to be, it is. “A condition of deep suffering from misfortune, affliction or grief; 2 : CALAMITY, MISFORTUNE” MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY. The definition from the Biblical perspective would be “A pronouncement of judgment” and in the case of Habakkuk the prophet, a pronouncement of judgment against the Babylonians for their treatment of the Hebrew captives, and their treatment of the temple and its valuables.
The “Woe” is given to us in verse 19, “Woe to him who says to the wood, ‘Awake!’ To the silent stone, ‘Arise! It shall teach!’ Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, yet there is no breath at all.” (NKJV). To see someone speaking to a piece of wood would seem quite comical, if it were not a warning against idolatry. The Babylonians did practice the worship of idols.
The names of the Hebrews in the book of Daniel were changed to reflect the names of the idols of Babylon rather than the God of the Hebrews:
Daniel means “God is my judge” ……….Belteshazzar means ‘the keeper of the treasure of Baal’;
Hananiah means “Jehovah is gracious” ……Shadrach means ‘command of the moon god’; Mishael means “Who is like God” ……………… Meshach means ‘the goddess Shach’;
Azariah means “Jehovah is my helper”…………………. Abednego means ‘the fire god’. This was a means of ‘Brainwashing’ them getting them in tune with the culture of Babylon. They realized the importance of names. That is why I refer to them all by their Hebrew names. They are not Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; they are Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.
The question of verse 18 concerning ‘What profit?, ‘the molded image, a teacher of lies, that the maker of its mold should trust in it, to make mute idols? Wooden images, metal images, stone images, are less restrictive, easily approachable, and have no requirements. When one worships an idol you have your own form and “Formed” worship. You could say “Carved Worship”. You may worship your god whenever, and however you choose. To worship the Lord of Heaven, however, requires, righteousness, holiness, justness, and devotion. Those who try and approach God without these will be turned away, and cast into fires of judgment.
We do not have a “Carved Worship”. We have a heavenly ordained worship in “Spirit and truth”. The God of heaven is unapproachable without righteousness, holiness, justness, and devotion. We can only attain approachableness to God by the righteousness, holiness, justness, and devotion of His Son Jesus Christ, and because of His death on the cross, His burial, and His resurrection. It is not by any work [Carved or otherwise] that man approaches the Holy One.
The Psalmist had a word or two to say about idols:
“Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.” Psalm 115:4-8 (KJV).
What can an idol do for you? Of course, if you are the artist who is doing the carving, then you can be well paid. If you are the metal worker, again, you can receive good pay. As far as any eternal value they offer death. Look at what happened to the gods of Egypt in the early chapters of Exodus. Everyone of them were exposed as being false. They had no control over the elements; only the God of Moses and the Hebrews had power to bring the plagues, and to remove the plagues.
Those who rely upon images are trusting in a lie. There is not one shread of evidence for any false god having power or helping the people who trust in them. The idols they make cannot speak, they cannot see, they cannot touch you, they cannot walk or run, and they cannot hear. Why waste the time of trying.
In some parts of the world, and our Country too, there are people who are good at seeing images in pieces of toasts, trees, and just in thin air. Then they build images to “Give honor” to them. They spend time praying to “Fatima” and praising her. Praying is usually only reserved for deity since deity is the only one who can answer the prayer. Thus, what is offered to “Fatima” as prayer is an act of worship.
According to the apostle Paul in the First letter to the Corinthian church, “…The things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, and not to God: and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons.” 1 Corinthians 10:20 (NKJV). To offer anything to an idol, be it carved, seen in a vision, apparition, or whatever is to offer worship to demons. That is the teaching of the New Testament. That is the teaching of the apostle Paul. The apostle to the Gentiles.
These may have an air of beauty about them with the gold, silver, and sometimes even the craftsmanship which formed it, but they are not living. They have no “Breath” at all. There is One and only One who is in His temple. That One is the One who made us all, and all things seen and unseen.
“Let all the earth keep silence before Him” (v.20b).
John MacArthur writes of this in the MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE:
“keep silence. In contrast to the silence of the idols (v. 19), the living, Sovereign Ruler of the universe calls all the earth to be silent before Him. None can assert his independence from Him; all the earth must worship in humble submission (cf. Ps. 46:10; Is. 52:15).”
This call is for an act of extreme reverence, even an awe, because He is the only one worthy of it all. The Psalmist also said, “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10 (NKJV).
All will one day bow before Him and confess Jesus as Lord of all the earth. You do it now, or you will be doing it then.
-by Tim A. Blankenship