Are the Israelis protected by God?
A god image is a statue of a deity made of stone, clay, wood or metal.
The peoples with whom Israel came into contact all had their own idols and statues of gods. And for a long time there was also worship of other deities in Israel alongside the worship of the God of Israel - and accordingly also images of such gods. There were, for example, small figures of gods who were supposed to protect the house as "house gods" or good spirits (2 Kings 23:24). At times in Bet-El and Dan there were golden images of the bulls that King Jeroboam had erected (1 Kings 12: 28-29). In the story of the dance around the golden calf, too, the Israelites made such an image for themselves (Exodus / Exodus 32: 1-8).
In Isaiah, the images of the gods are literally translated as "nothingness". Anyone who worships an idol or an idol is turning to something weak, stupid, to something that actually has no power at all. Because the images of gods are made by human hands, rigid and mute and can bring no help (Isaiah 44: 9-20). Those who rely on them are left.
The God of Israel, on the other hand, is not a dead idol, he is the living God. He's the only one who can help. He proved his power by bringing the people out of Egypt, feeding them in the desert and protecting them in all their ways. In this helping action of God is based his claim as formulated in the Ten Commandments: Israel should only worship him and not make any images of gods. (Exodus / Exodus 20: 2-6; Deuteronomy / Deuteronomy 5: 6-10; Hosea 13: 1-9).
The books Joshua to 2 Kings run through this idol theme like a red thread: Israel succumbs again and again to the temptation to worship false gods. This unfaithfulness to the true God is held responsible as the actual reason for the downfall of the northern kingdom of Israel (2 Kings 17: 7-23) and later of the southern kingdom of Judah (2 Kings 24: 3).
During the time of exile, the author of Isaiah 40-55, referred to as Deutero-Isaiah, sharply opposed the worship of idols. At a time when the people are directly confronted with the gods and religions outside of Israel, he emphasizes the uniqueness and incomparability of the true God.
In the Gospels the theme of the idols does not play a role. But for Paul, who is constantly confronted with the ancient gods and their veneration on his missionary journeys, it gains new meaning. In view of the many idols in Athens "he was gripped by anger" (Acts 17:16). Again and again he exhorts people to turn away from idols (1 Corinthians 10:14; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Galatians 5:20). Revelation sees the idolaters fall into certain damnation (Revelation 21: 8, Revelation 22:15).
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