When God Talked about Scarecrows

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Perhaps my first introduction to scarecrows was the dancing scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz who longed so desperately for a brain. God talked about scarecrows once. As a loving Father, He warned the Israelites about false beliefs that could pull them away from Him.

Scarecrow in Latvia, 1920
Scarecrow in Latvia, 1920. Courtesy Library of Congress.

People in the cultures living around the Israelites worshiped idols, and the Israelites were tempted to worship them, too. Loving parents warn their children of dangers. That’s why God warned His. In Jeremiah 10, He warned them about following the practices of the nations around them. In this passage, God makes fun of idols and compares them to scarecrows.

As you read the passage, think about whether you can make application to practices you see in the cultures to which your family is exposed, whether they are exposed to them through real people or through some form of media.

Hear the word which the Lord speaks to you, O house of Israel.
Thus says the Lord,
“Do not learn the way of the nations,
And do not be terrified by the signs of the heavens
Although the nations are terrified by them;
For the customs of the peoples are delusion;
Because it is wood cut from the forest,
The work of the hands of a craftsman with a cutting tool.
They decorate it with silver and with gold;
They fasten it with nails and with hammers
So that it will not totter.
Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field are they,
And they cannot speak;
They must be carried,
Because they cannot walk!
Do not fear them,
For they can do no harm,
Nor can they do any good.”

Ours is certainly not the only time in history when many, many things can pull us and our children away from God. I don’t know any people personally who are tempted to fall down before an actual idol and worship it, but Colossians 3 talks about a different kind of idolatry. Next to our booth at one homeschool convention this year was a business that helps parents filter what their children see online. A good list of what to filter, not only from what children see online, but what to filter from our hearts and the hearts of our children, is found in this passage from Colossians.

Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to
immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed,
which amounts to idolatry.
Colossians 3:5

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