Isaiah 17:7-11 7In that day people will look to their Maker and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel. 8They will not look to the altars, the work of their hands, and they will have no regard for the Asherah poles and the incense altars their fingers have made.
In line with the context, it’s a day of distress. And in that day, people will look to God. They will not look, or seek, their altars, the works of their hands, they won’t regard (esteem or respect) Asherah poles, or their incense altars.
1.) altars… as idols…what we set up & worship as idols in our lives.
2.) hands…our human efforts to control, manage, and manipulate.
3.) Asherah was a pagan sex cult…what I equate as the seeking after pleasure. People worshipped Asherah…we, as a culture, worship pleasure.
4.) Incense altars…in God’s tabernacle/temple, incense altars represented the prayers and hopes of the people. To me, I see incense altars as the metaphor for our own hopes, dreams, and desires…our pursuit of these.
Therefore, many times it takes a “day of distress” to knock us down where we will no longer place our trust in our idols; where we will no longer try to micromanage our lives and the events of our lives by the works of our own hands. We eat the bread of pleasure as a regular course of our daily meals, and yet are never filled with the lasting goodness of the Bread of Life that came down from Heaven. And instead of seeking God in the humility and simplicity of prayer as an act of submission and praise for His glory, we use prayer as a means to acquire our hopes, desires, and dreams…many times treating God as some kind of cosmic bellhop.
Even though it’s a specific prophecy against Damascus, I see it holding value as a principle of Scripture on daily living. Damascus was Israel’s enemy, to be seen in the light of the flesh/world versus the Spirit/Eternal Kingdom
Anyway, these are the thoughts that came to my mind today. You may feel I’m really stretching on this, but I see such a basic truth to every one of these examples; and can say, honestly, I’ve been guilty at pursuing all of these. Sometimes God reaches me with the gentle small, still voice. Other times he has had to get my attention with the earthquake and the whirlwind…my day of distress.