We can live one of two ways. One way is the way of idolatry in which we create gods we try to carry ourselves, and the other way is surrender to being carried by the Living God Himself.
The idolatry described Isaiah 46:1 is almost comical. “Bel and Nebo wobble and duck, as their images sway on the backs of oxen and donkeys—such a heavy burden for the weary animals—as they are carried about.” (Isaiah 46:1, The Voice). This is an apt description of how we humans do our best to carry those things we worship in place of God Himself. It’s as though we’re a herd of oxen and donkeys barely able to carry our heavy burdens, as we head down the road to destruction. It really is not something about which to smile.
W. Pat Cunningham describes idolatry at http://www.sermoncentral.com as turning to some other reality, one without a true face. He writes, “God’s face is a face of love, but it is a love that shows itself according to a timetable that God Himself sets. We want everything good, and we want it NOW. When God’s self-revelation is tardy by our watches, or when God demands something hard of us, we are tempted to turn to some other reality, one without a true face, instead. That is the definition of idolatry. It might not be a physical statue, but rather an object of pleasure — art, music, sex, or even our own reputation.”
Isn’t it ludicrous to try to carry all this stuff? It is as though we try to carry God Himself, and finding that is impossible, we create a god we think we can carry. The inevitable result, however, is to wobble our way down the road. We end up really tired, totally lost, and utterly miserable.
The futility of carrying those burdens is not what God wants for us. In Isaiah 46:3-5, God paints a completely different picture than the one we try to paint for ourselves — one meant to bring us to totally rest in Him and find the only life worth living. Instead of YOU and ME carrying our gods, He reminds us that HE will carry us – when we rest in Him by faith.
“Listen to Me, O house of Jacob, And all the remnant of the house of Israel, You who have been borne by Me from birth And have been carried from the womb; Even to your old age I will be the same, And even to your graying years I will bear you! I have done it, and I will carry you; And I will bear you and I will deliver you. To whom would you liken Me And make Me equal and compare Me, That we would be alike?” (NASB)
I like the part about being carried even in the years of gray hair! In other words, there is never a time when God is not offering to be our all in all — to take up every burden we carry on Himself, to teach us about resting in Him, and to give us finally His own heart of peace. Jesus said, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NASB)
You cannot carry God, and it is senseless to try to carry the gods of this world. If you try, you will end up wobbling down the road under the weight of it all.
Why not choose His way, and let Him carry you?
“He found him in a desert land, And in the howling waste of a wilderness; He encircled him, He cared for him, He guarded him as the pupil of His eye. Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, That hovers over its young, He spread His wings and caught them, He carried them on His pinions. The Lord alone guided him, And there was no foreign god with him.” Deuteronomy 32:10-12 (NASB)
“There is none like the God of Jeshurun, Who rides the heavens to your help, And through the skies in His majesty. The eternal God is a dwelling place, And underneath are the everlasting arms; And He drove out the enemy from before you, And said, ‘Destroy!’ So Israel dwells in security, The fountain of Jacob secluded, In a land of grain and new wine; His heavens also drop down dew.” Deuteronomy 33:26-28 (NASB)