Day 208: The Futility of Idols

Isaiah 37:1-38 When Hezekiah heard of the Assyrians’ attempt to bribe the people and make mockery of the Lord, he did penance and went to the Temple to pray. Ahaz rejected the counsel of God and the advice of Isaiah, but in contrast Hezekiah sought to do God’s will and asked all the people to pray for deliverance. As Isaiah prophesied against the Assyrians, Sennacherib voluntarily gave up the siege by a divine intervention. He was later killed by his own sons. 

Ch 37:31-32 Remnant: These are the faithful of Israel who returned from exile to re-establish themselves in Judah and are beneficiaries of God’s blessings and providence. (CCC 1081)

Ch 38:1-22 Hezekiah was struck by a potentially fatal illness while in his prime. Therefore, he prayed for God’s mercy, who extended his life another fifteen years, confirming this by reversing the path or the shadow on a sundial. His prayer of thanksgiving reaffirmed his faith and trust in the Lord. (CCC 1502)

Ch 38:20 Regarding this verse St. John Paul II stated, “The Lord is not indifferent to the tears of the one who suffers, and he responds, consoles and saves, although not always in ways that coincide with what we expect. It is what Hezekiah confessed at the end, encouraging all to hope, to pray, to have confidence, with the certainty that God would not abandon his creatures” (General Audience, February 27, 2002)

Baruch 5:1-9 The restored Jerusalem ultimately would become the heavenly Jerusalem where all the redeemed would enjoy everlasting life. 

Ch 6:1-73 The final chapter of this book is the “Letter of Jeremiah,” which in some historic manuscripts is an independent book. The purpose of his letter was to encourage those in exile to keep their faith and resist the temptation to worship pagan idols. His concern was well founded since one of Israel’s recurring sins was outright idolatry or a certain syncretism between belief in the pagan gods and in the one true God. Baruch demonstrated convincingly the stupidity of worshiping inanimate objects of human fabrication. Moreover, these pagan priests were corrupt and deceptive insofar as they took payments for useless offerings and made empty promises of material blessings. These pagan religions steeped in idolatry were not governed by objective morality but rather engaged in lustful actions as part of religious practice. In summary, idols were worthless and brought shame upon every nation that worshiped them. Since the exiles knew of their powerlessness, they should have neither feared nor worshiped them; therefore, there is no room for idolatry in the life of one who worships and honors the one true God as stated by the First Commandment. (CCC 2114)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and glory. We thank you for your Word. We thank you for revealing your heart to us and we give you praise this day and every day, confident that you hear our prayers and you know our needs and you meet us now. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”