We read in Isaiah that the idols are “empty as the wind.” When we think of wind, you don’t see anything there. It’s this movement of air. You can’t see it. The only reason you can tell the air is moving is because you see trees dancing in the wind or lightweight objects like leaves are carried by the strength of the wind. Or perhaps you feel the air blowing on your skin or through your hair.
The Bible says that idols are “foolish, worthless things.” When we think of idols, we often think of the man-made items that the people in biblical times worshiped. We read about different gods they worshiped that were made of wood or other materials and looked like an animal. But man-made idols can be anything that takes the place of God.
Ecclesiastes speaks of chasing the wind. Solomon writes of everything being meaningless. But what does that mean? Is everything meaningless? Is life meaningless? Not at all. Solomon understood that meaning could only be found in God. The idols we have on this earth—for some people it is money, a career, family, a particular person, gambling, etc—are all foolish, worthless things that cannot do a thing for us. With Jesus Christ we find meaning. There is no emptiness; there is only fullness. He satisfies completely. He makes whole. He completes.
“See, they are all foolish, worthless things. All your idols are as empty as the wind.” – Isaiah 41:29 [NLT]
Elijah came on the scene with no introduction and announced the Word of God. He told the people there would be no rain, upholding what was said in Deuteronomy 28:24 for those in disobedience. Ravens brought him food and when the brook dried up, he went to the widow of Zarephath and God provided.
Elijah then had a showdown with the prophets of Baal. As Elijah watched, the prophets could not get Baal to produce fire. Elijah poured 12 jars of water in a trench and God produced fire that drank up all of the water and burned the surrounding stones. It was an amazing display of God’s power, but then Elijah ran in fear and hid himself in a cave.
God approached Elijah and asked him – What are you doing here? There was incredible wind, an earthquake and fire but God was not in any of them. Then came a gentle whisper. Elijah was reminded of God’s greatness. There are moments when we need to be reminded of God’s greatness – when fear and doubt creep in and try to discourage us. Today, ask yourself how great is our God? How great is our God! Step out of the cave.
“When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’” – 1 Kings 19:13 [NIV]
When I was younger, I always was amazed at the story of Jonah. I imagined this man attempting to run away, and yet “the LORD hurled a great wind” and next thing you know he was swallowed by “a great fish.” Who tries to run away from God? It seems crazy and yet I believe we all have our moments.
Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh. God told him of the important task he had, but he did not agree. We do this same thing when God gives us an idea of what we are to do in life, and yet we think we know better or we allow fear to dictate our actions instead of giving God the chance to direct our path.
Perhaps it could be that we have this high paying job, but God wants us to go back to school for a college degree in something far from our current career. Maybe we are told to move, to enter or end a relationship, or perhaps to wait for something. What really can be hard to swallow is when you make a plan or goal, you nearly are there at the end to reach this goal, and God turns you around. Maybe you are paying off a house or car and think you can settle, but God thinks it’s time for a change.
No matter what it is, God promises us that we will be blessed abundantly if we trust in Him. It’s hard. I won’t argue with anyone. I went across the world because God said to despite many sacrifices that had to be made. I went back to school though I loved my career and it provided for my family. Stepping out in faith is scary and it can be very unsettling; however, the rewards always come. Trust in Him for He alone is faithful. He is our victorious warrior who is by our side each day as we press forward.
“Do not be afraid O Zion;
Do not let your hands fall limp.
The LORD your God is in your midst,
A victorious warrior.
He will exult over you with joy,
He will be quiet in His love,
He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.”
– Zephaniah 3:16b-17 [NASB]