THE UPWARD CALL
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet;
but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God
IN CHRIST JESUS.
(Philippians 3:13-14 NASB)
TUC #08-1407
by – Stuart H. Pouliot
January 15, 2014
Come, Let Us Reason Together
In the translation that I use, the heading for Isaiah 44:9-20 reads: The Folly of Idolatry . As I read these verses, a
thought came to me regarding how the Lord's people seem to come so close to the truth of the salvation of all or,
as some say, the reconciliation or restoration of all things, without truly arriving at it. It is as if a partial blindness is
in play, or as if they cannot make that final leap into the full truth of God's love, even though a logical analysis of
God is love would lead them to only one rightful conclusion: For this is ideal and welcome in the sight of our
Saviour, God, (4) Who wills that all mankind be saved and come into a realization of the truth . For there is one
God, and one Mediator of God and mankind, a Man, Christ Jesus, Who is giving Himself a correspondent
Ransom for all (the testimony in its own eras [i.e., times or seasons] ) (1 Timothy 2:3-6 CLV).
I contend that the traditions and precepts of men are idols of the heart that keep us from the truth of God. We
will come back to this thought, but first, let us consider what Isaiah has to say to us about the folly of idols.
(13) Another shapes wood, he extends a measuring line; he outlines it with red chalk. He works it with planes
and outlines it with a compass, and makes it like the form of a man, like the beauty of man, so that it may sit in
a house. (14) Surely he cuts cedars for himself, and takes a cypress or an oak and raises it for himself among the
trees of the forest. He plants a fir, and the rain makes it grow. (15) Then it becomes something for a man to
burn, so he takes one of them and warms himself; he also makes a fire to bake bread. He also makes a god and
worships it; he makes it a graven image and falls down before it. (16) Half of it he burns in the fire; over this
half he eats meat as he roasts a roast and is satisfied. He also warms himself and says, "Aha! I am warm, I have
seen the fire." (17) But the rest of it he makes into a god, his graven image. He falls down before it and
worships; he also prays to it and says, "Deliver me, for you are my god." (18) They do not know, nor do they
understand, for He has smeared over their eyes so that they cannot see and their hearts so that they cannot
comprehend . (19) No one recalls, nor is there knowledge or understanding to say, "I have burned half of it in
the fire and also have baked bread over its coals. I roast meat and eat it. Then I make the rest of it into an
abomination, I fall down before a block of wood!" (Isaiah 44:13-19 NASB)
This is a great example of the blindness of religion when one leaves his logic at the door, so to speak, as he enters
the realm of religion. Follow the illogic of what these idolaters were doing. They plant a tree and raise it for
themselves for two totally opposite purposes. The first purpose is quite acceptable, if not necessary. They plant a
tree in order to use the wood to make fires upon which to cook food for their sustenance and to keep them warm
in cold weather. But then take note of the second purpose. They take the other half of the wood from the very
tree they planted in the first place and make it into an idol. They make it a god and fall down before it, a block of
wood, and worship it as if it has life and power beyond them. In other words, the very thing that they fashioned
out of a block of wood, they make into a god to deliver them.
Now, stop and think for a moment, and answer this question: How could someone be so blind as to do such a
thing? Don't they see the illogic of what they are doing and saying? But, here is another question: As Christians,
are we susceptible to the same illogic in our understanding of God and His truth? You see, over the years, I have
met Christians who believe things that belie logic when it comes to truth. In fact, somewhere along the line, I
heard someone say that we don't need logic for we have faith, which implies that faith has no logic to it. Do you
really think this is true? Do you think that God is not logical in what He does? Do you think faith and logic are
incompatible?
#08-1407 [604]
Come, Let Us Reason Together
Page 2
What is logic? Logic is "the science of correct reasoning; science which deals with the criteria of valid thought"; it
is correct reasoning; valid induction or deduction: as, logic shows a better course." Simply, logic is correct
reasoning. Here is an example of logic: (A) God is love, and (B) love never fails; therefore, (C) God never fails. A+B
= C. Given A + B and concluding that God fails would be illogical.
Let us not forget that the Lord called the sons of Israel to reason with Him: "Come now, and let us reason
together," Says the LORD, "Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red
like crimson, they will be like wool " (Isaiah 1:18 NASB). The Hebrew word for reason is yakach , which, according
to Strong's Concordance , is "a primitive root; to be right (that is, correct); reciprocally to argue ; causatively to
decide , justify or convict ." Reason is one of the arguments of logic, for it is the ability to think, form judgments,
draw conclusions, etc. The Lord reasoned with the Hebrews based on if and then statements, which is the heart of
arguments of logic. He wanted them to think rightly, to come to the right conclusion. If they consented, then all
this would be applied to them. If they did not consent to it, then they would be devoured by the sword.
Do you think that God no longer wants to reason with us, as if this went out the door at Calvary? Do you think
Paul never tried to reason with his Jewish brethren and detractors? Acts proves otherwise.
(23) Then, having themselves arranged a day with him, more folks came to him, into [his] place of lodging, to
whom he continued setting forth, explaining from out of [his] midst, while progressively giving thorough
evidence and double witness of God's reign (or: the kingdom of God) , besides constantly using persuading and
convincing [ reasoning with ] them concerning Jesus – both from the Law (= Torah) of Moses and from the
Prophets – from early morning until evening. (24) And so [some] folks, on the one hand, began being
progressively persuaded and convinced by (or: in) the things being continuously spoken and laid out, yet on the
other hand, [other] folks continued without faith and trust (or: persisted in unbelief). (Acts 28:23-24 JM-NT)
If we consider the Jews in the days of Jesus and Paul, they had two glaring problems that blinded them to the
truth. They thought that since they were God's chosen people and nation, they held special favor with God and
would not be held liable for what they said or did. Simply, they could do no wrong. Their second problem was
called the tradition or precepts of men. Consider Jesus' indictment of the Jews in His day.
(7) 'BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.' (8) "Neglecting the
commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men." (Mark 7:7-8 NASB)
Are we immune from this just because we believe and have faith? Paul did not think so.
Keep watching out for and beware that someone will not be the one progressively (or: repeatedly) carrying you
off captive (as booty or a prey) through the philosophy and empty seduction (or: a trick having no content) being
handed down in the tradition of men (or: corresponding to the thing handed along from humans) , down from
(corresponding to) the elementary principles (rudimentary teachings) of the organized system (the world [e.g.,
the religion or culture]) , and not down from (in accord with) Christ…. (Colossians 2:8 JM-NT)
Brethren, this is a real danger for us today as well. The danger has not changed. Perhaps, it is even worse in our
day. After all, it takes years for the traditions of men to develop and take root. We have had 2,000 years for the
traditions to leaven our thinking and to dull our logic to the point that we no longer see the danger. They are
called idols of the heart ; they are not idols formed out of wood and things we make; they are idols of thought that
we call truth , but are no more than traditions and precepts of men. As John wrote: Little children, guard
yourselves from idols (1 John 5:21). I encourage you to read my article #54, August 2012, Idols of the Heart
[Graven Images] . If interested, go to this link: http://www.kingdomandglory.com/art/art54.pdf .
Let us come out of the folly of the traditions of men! Let us seek to know the heart of God! If you reason with
God, I believe that by His Spirit He will reveal His infinite love for all mankind, for He wills all mankind be saved
and come to the knowledge of the truth. Love demands it, for love will never fail to conquer all, to the glory of
God and His Son. Come, let us reason together!