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Their gods are like helpless scarecrows (v.5).
As I wandered around at the annual Scarecrow
Festival in a neighboring town, the smell of
fried dough, popcorn, and hot dogs filled the
air. Multitudes of scarecrows masquerading as different
characters—athletes, pirates, farmers, cheerleaders—were
arranged on platforms for everyone to admire. I thought
of Jeremiah as he commanded the Israelites not to admire
the gods of the surrounding nations. He said, “Their gods
[were] like helpless scarecrows in a cucumber field”
(Jeremiah 10:5). He went on to build a case against idol
worship, and here are a few of his main points:
Idols are helpless. They can’t harm us or do us any
good (v.5). We should worship God because “the Lord is
the only true God” (v.10).
Idols are not alive. “They cannot speak” and they “have
no breath or power” (Jeremiah 10:5,14). We should
worship God because He is “the living God” (v.10) who
“is the Creator of everything that exists” (v.16).
Idols are destructible. They “will vanish from the earth
and from under the heavens” (Jeremiah 10:11). “They
will all be destroyed” (v.15). We should worship God
because He is “the everlasting King” (v.10).
Nothing should compete with our devotion to God.
Still, just like the people who outfitted their idols in “royal
blue and purple robes made by expert tailors” (v.9), we
decorate our houses, follow celebrities, and polish our
vehicles with enough dedication to make them into “so-called gods” (v.11).
The remedy for our struggle with “sacred scarecrows” is to remember that
God is the only One worthy of our devotion and praise. Meditating on His
power, eternal nature, and desire to know us personally will help us follow
the first of the Ten Commandments: “You must not have any other god but
Me” (Exodus 20:3). —Jennifer Benson Schuldt
Why is idolatry harder to spot in our modern world than it was in
Jeremiah’s day? How can we ensure that God has His rightful place in
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