God humorously mocks idols!

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Some of the best examples of humor in the Bible, although it may seem a bit strange or odd, involve the use of idols! At its core, idolatry (which is a sin, Exodus 20:3 - 6, Matthew 4:10, Revelation 21:8) is one of the starkest examples of irrational human thinking found in Scripture.

The belief that a human can create, out of wood, stone or other materials, a god more powerful than himself makes no sense whatsoever! This characteristic alone makes idols a prime target of humor.

The Lord, during the ministry of Isaiah, used humor in the form of severe satire to address his people's seeming willingness to worship almost any idol (see our top ten list of pagan gods)! Israel's tendency to worship pagan deities, even after the true God was revealed to them, goes all the way back to Moses and the receiving of the commandments (see Exodus 32). Sadly, even after entering the Promised Land, the people and even a few of it best rulers (i.e. Solomon, 1Kings 11:4 - 10) openly used idols.

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The passage found in Isaiah 44:9 - 20 possesses several characteristics that make it unique and the best Bible humor directly from the Lord.

Two Laughing Jesters
Two Laughing Jesters
Pieter Xavery, 1673

First, the passage uses different types of humorous techniques such as irony and sarcasm to make its points about idols. Second, it is composed entirely of words spoken directly by God. Lastly, it goes into detail delineating the planning and effort humans subject themselves to in order to produce something that does them no earthly good!

God prefaces his biting humor in Isaiah by firmly asserting he is the only true Deity in existence (Isaiah 44:6 - 8). We are then informed that people plant and cut trees in order to provide for themselves the basic necessities of life such as heat and food (verses 14 - 16, 19). Some of the wood harvested, however, is given to craftsmen so that an idol can be created.

The craftsmen spend a great deal of time laboring to form, shape and embellish the wood into an object that resembles a man (verses 11 - 13). Once completed, it is amazingly (and humorously, from our point of view) worshipped as a god and called upon for help in times of trouble (verses 12 - 13, 15, 17)!

The Lord openly mocks the fact that idols, which his people consider powerful deities, do not even have the ability to move themselves from one place to another (Isaiah 44:13).

God, using a bit of sarcastic humor to point out the intrinsic illogical nature of what the Israelites are doing, states, "The man never stops to think or figure out, 'Why, it's just a block of wood! I've burned it for heat and used it to bake my bread and roast my meat. How can the rest of it be a god? . . .'" (verses 18 - 19, TLB).

This humor from God, among the best in the entire Bible, points out how silly it is to believe something he created can magically be made, through the work of human hands, a deity far more loving and merciful than he is. His conclusion is, "Who but a fool would make his own god - an idol that can help him not one whit!" (Isaiah 44:10, TLB). It is indeed the height of vanity for anyone to believe he can manufacture anything to replace the Lord (verse 9)!

Additional Study Materials
What do fools find funny?
Is the American flag an idol?
What is Holy Laughter?
Is God male or female?

The Best Bible Humor!

Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Definitions
John Gills Exposition of the Bible
Willmington's Guide to the Bible

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