King Hezekiah prays to Jehovah because the messenger of the King of Assyria has said to him/Israel: “Why do you think your God is going to work for your safety when all the other gods haven’t been able to stand against us? We conquered those other countries and we’re going to control yours.”
Hezekiah prays, “Incline thine ear, O Jehovah, and hear; open thine eyes, O Jehovah, and see; and hear all the words of Sennacherib, who hath sent to defy the living God. Of a truth, Jehovah, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the countries, and their land, and have cast their gods into the fire: for they were no gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone; therefore they have destroyed them. Now therefore, O Jehovah our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art Jehovah, even thou only.”(Isaiah 37:17-20 ASV)
I thought of the question, “How’s It Working for Ya?” when I read about the other gods who hadn’t been able to protect those other lands, because as Hezekiah points out, those “other gods” aren’t really gods at all. They were only wood objects that the people made thinking that those created idols would save them.
What are our “gods” which don’t really “work” and how are they working for us? Why do we keep depending upon those idols when they haven’t been effective, but we keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result?
“For instance,” you ask? Here’s some ideas:
If I get angry, that person will change.
If I worry, my loved ones will be safe.
If I rescue my loved one from their consequences for bad choices, they’ll change.
If I keep eating, the emotional pain will be buried.
If I get him/her to be pleased with me, my value will be affirmed.
I don’t need to confess my sin until the end of the day.
When my significant person changes, then I can be who God wants me to be.
The pain I suffered in childhood entitles me to responding poorly.
I could go on. Whatever we depend upon instead of God is an idol and it ain’t really working, no matter how many times we try to use the same strategy. How’s it working for ya? It isn’t– because only God can really help. That’s King Hezekiah’s belief. He said, “Those other idols didn’t work but Jehovah God will and He has promised us the Assyrians will not destroy Jerusalem.” (God did allow them to defeat other cities in Israel but He promised they wouldn’t destroy Jerusalem–and they didn’t!)
Let’s ask the Lord to reveal to our heart’s eyes how we have idols and then ask, “How are they working for me?”
Elyse Fitzpatrick writes in her book, Idols of the Heart (recommend reading!): “Idols aren’t just stone statues. No, idols are the thoughts, desires, longings, and expectations that we worship in the place of the true God. Idols cause us to ignore the true God in search of what we think we need.” (pg 23).