This week we’re taking a slight excursus from the main line of Isaiah to talk about the thing Isaiah says is a plague amongst God’s people Israel, and is what’s brought them to this place.
It’s been said that we are built to worship. What do you think of that? Do you think it’s true of you?
Have a look at the below diagram that was spoken about in the talk on Sunday night. Talk about the connection between our desires, idols and what we offer. What are some examples of how this operates in our (or others) lives.
Are the above examples discussed always problematic? When do you think they become problematic?
Read Isaiah 44:6-23
Isaiah is saying in this passage that the idea of idolatry sells both God short and sells us short.
Discuss the ways in which it sells God short? (vv.12-16)
Looking at the first two commandments and the introduction to them (Exodus 20:1-6) why doesn’t God want to be reduced to an idol?
Discuss the ways in which it sells us short? (v.17)
Augustine talks about the idea of “disordered love”. That is, it’s not that we don’t love, and we might even love good things, but we love them in the wrong order. We love some things so much that it crushes others, or the thing we love so much can’t bear the weight of our expectation.
What are some examples of this in our culture? In what ways might we ask created things to “save us”?
For some they might not seem to struggle much with the idea of idolatry. They’re balanced, not all their eggs are in one basket, and they seem to be navigating life pretty well without God. Discuss the idea that in these circumstances, the thing that we worship is ourselves – our own reason & ability to navigate life. What’s the danger here?
So if the question the bible puts to us is not “Will you worship?” but “what will you worship?”, how do we move from unhealthy worship to healthy worship?
Read Colossians 3:1-5
Paul’s “since then” at the start of this passage is premised on what he’s said before, exploring the person and work of Jesus.
What is it that Jesus offers in his work & person that we look for in creation?
In his book Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller says:
“The living God, who revealed himself at Mount Sinai and on the cross, is the only Lord who, if you find him, can truly fulfil you, and if you fail him, can truly forgive him.”
What do you think of this?
Paul’s instruction here then is, set your hearts and minds on Jesus. That is, move the focus of your worship from the creation to the creator. What does it look like to set your hearts and minds on Jesus?
It’s often hard to identify the idols in our lives. One of the things suggested is that if we “pull our emotions up by their roots” you’ll find the idols clinging to them.
To finish (as far as you’re comfortable) talk about the emotions you struggle with and what idols might be clinging to them. Pray for each other in this that in setting our hearts and minds on Jesus we might be able to find the reality of worship, not the shadow.