Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but this is my one aim:
to forget everything that's behind, and to strain every nerve to go after what lies ahead.
I press on toward the finish line, where the prize waiting for me is the upward call of God
(Philippians 3:13-14)
by – Stuart H. Pouliot
January 15, 2014
Come, Let Us Reason Together
In one translation, 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 circle 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, 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.
The carpenter stretches a line; he marks it out with a pencil. He shapes it with planes and marks it with a
compass. He shapes it into the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, to dwell in a house. He cuts down
cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants
a cedar and the rain nourishes it. Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he
kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before
it. Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself
and says, "Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!" And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls
down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, "Deliver me, for you are my god!" They know not, nor do
they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot
understand. No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, "Half of it I burned in the fire; I
also baked bread on its coals; I roasted meat and have eaten. And shall I make the rest of it an abomination?
Shall I fall down before a block of wood?" (Isaiah 44:13-19 ESV)
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?
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.
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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). 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.
When they had appointed a day for him, they came to him at his lodging in greater numbers. From morning
till evening, he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus
both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. And some were convinced by what he said, but others
disbelieved. (Acts 28:23-24 ESV)
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.
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
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).
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
Come, let us reason together!