There’s either idolatry or the Incarnation

We desperately want God to be here, to hold onto Him.

–from one of my pastor’s sermons

I remember as a kid loving miniature.

I had a handheld pink case that opened up to reveal a retractable Ferris wheel and little tiny animals to play on it just how I wanted them to.

I loved MacDonald’s toys because they could fit in my hand and they were easy to command.

My dad convinced me one day to eat peas by saying we could pretend they were watermelons and we were giants.  I liked the idea of towering over the ground.

Miniature things made me feel like a giant, mighty, in charge.

It is easy–very, very easy–to want a miniature god.

Sometimes I have felt like I would like a small god who is in charge of some things and does most things my way and always explains everything to me when I asked.  Sometimes God seems too big.  Too scary.  Too hard to understand.  Too far away.

Sometimes I want God to act on the plan I have in mind and forget about parts of His plan.  Sometimes I want God to share His power with me.  Sometimes I want God to compromise.  Sometimes I want God to tell me what I want to hear.

More than anything, though, I want a God who’s big enough to save me.  A God who stays in control when I have clearly lost control.  A God who can pick me up when I fall and can carry me when I can’t even crawl.  A God who knows what’s going to happen and plans to protect me from the eternal ramifications of the mess I’ve made.

We’ve worshiped idols since the time of the Fall.  Our ancestors picked everything from a gold calf to a wood statue.

We’ve tried to miniaturize God.

But we can’t.  And we don’t need to.

He came to us, in our form.

So why don’t most of us listen to what He says?

Most of us don’t want a God who’s incarnate.

We want a god who’s wood.

We want god under our command.

But what we don’t understand is, that’s not God.

That’s timber.

And it can’t save us.


Then the wood-carver measures a block of wood

and draws a pattern on it.

He works with chisel and plane

and carves it into a human figure.

He gives it human beauty

and puts it in a little shrine.

He cuts down cedars;

he selects the cypress and the oak;

he plants the pine in the forest

to be nourished by the rain.

Then he uses part of the wood to make a fire.

With it he warms himself and bakes his bread.

Then—yes, it’s true—he takes the rest of it

and makes himself a god to worship!

He makes an idol

and bows down in front of it!

He burns part of the tree to roast his meat

and to keep himself warm.

He says, “Ah, that fire feels good.”

Then he takes what’s left

and makes his god: a carved idol!

He falls down in front of it,

worshiping and praying to it.

“Rescue me!” he says.

“You are my god!” (Isaiah 44:13-17, NLT)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.

Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. (John 1:1-5, NIV)

He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:10-14, NIV)


See Copyright Page for Bible translation information.


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