The woodcarver… cuts down cedars or retrieves a cypress or oak. He lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a laurel, and the rain makes it grow. It serves as fuel for man. He takes some of it to warm himself, and he kindles a fire and bakes his bread; he even fashions it into a god and worships it; he makes an idol and bows down to it. He burns half of it in the fire, and he roasts meat on that half. He eats the roast and is satisfied. Indeed, he warms himself and says, ‘Ah! I am warm; I see the fire.’ From the rest he makes a god, his graven image. He bows down to it and worships; he prays to it and says, ‘Save me, for you are my god.’
– Isaiah 43:13-17 (Berean Study Bible)
The tree thudded to the ground.
The woodworker wiped the sweat from his face and looked it over. It was a beautiful tree, solid and strong. It would do just fine.
One half of the tree he chopped into firewood for his home. The rest of the tree he kept in one piece, though. He had something special in mind for it.
Later, he began work on the piece he set aside, carving an image into the beautiful wood. When it was finished, he set the carving upright in a shrine in the house.
It was a chilly evening when he stirred the embers of the dying fire. A fine roast sat on a spit. He pulled a fir log from the new pile of firewood and set it under the spit, careful not to stir a plume of ash into his dinner. He settled down by the fire and pulled a generous chunk of meat from the roast. The ache in his muscles began to ease as he feasted on his meal and warmed himself at the flames, content with all he’d accomplished.
As the sun broke over the hill, the woodworker trembled in the chill of a new day. His carved idol stood in its place in the shadows of a red dawn. He admired his handiwork. It really was a beautiful piece of wood. He set his offering at its feet on the floor and fell on his face before it, as a thousand heartaches flooded his heart. He felt helpless against the suffering his family endured, unprepared to face another day. He needed help. He needed advice.
He needed deliverance.
A groan escaped his lips. He gazed in reverence at the wooden statue he made with his own hands. “Deliver me, my god,” he whispered to his creation.
Oh, the irony.
Mankind naturally searches to satisfy the instinctive need for a realm higher, mightier, and wiser than himself.
Apart from direct revelation from God, man is left to fill that need with gods of his own making.
The Creator makes the dirt from which the tree springs. He sends the rain and the sun that warms and waters it. He forms the seed with the specific genetic properties that will make it a tree. God makes the tree and the man who worships it.
The book of Genesis tells us about a bitter dispute that arose between Abraham’s wives, Sarai and Hagar. Finally, Hagar ran away to the wilderness, where God found her huddled in despair.
After instructing her to return home, God blessed her and encouraged her. In awe she called Him Elroi, meaning “a God who sees.” This was no chunk of wood she met in the wilderness, but a living being. His image was not carved into a tree but emblazoned upon her soul. She learned that He hears, sees, and speaks to us because He is real. Heaven and hell can’t contain Him, yet He lives in our hearts. He sees our pain, and He hears our prayers.
He can, and He will, deliver us.
The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous,
And His ears are open to their cry.
The righteous cry and the LORD hears,
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
-Psalm 34:15, 17