I am so often amazed by the pertinence of the words in the Bible. Take this section from the fourty-fourth chapter of Isaiah as an example. The ease with which you can identify the parallel between the carpenter that worships the produce of his labor and we, today, who live focused on our own produce: money and possessions, most obviously.
The language is simple and the story flows easily: You have a carpenter. He starts with a line. He grows the line and eventually ends up with what appears to be a piece of art: another man. In the same breath our carpenter-character burns wood he has grown as fire and cooks over it as he warms himself, and he prays to the other half of the wood for some kind of deliverance.
The exposition that follows talks about the carpenters (and our) lack of discernment. The delusion of peoples (both individuals and collectively) is a universal reality: the delusion thrived when Isaiah was put (more or less) into ink, and we live mostly deluded lives today. Sometimes we allow our distractions to lead us; we allow — if not enjoy — the excuses of looking away from where we should be looking. How hard is it to look in my right hand and see the “lie” that rests there?
Nevertheless, I have reproduced this passage of Isaiah not as means of an indictment, but more as a wonderful example of the clarity, insight, and timelessness of the Bible. This comes from the ESV, courtesy of BibleGateway.com:
“The ironsmith takes a cutting tool and works it over the coals. He fashions it with hammers and works it with his strong arm. He becomes hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water and is faint. 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?’ He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, ‘Is there not a lie in my right hand?'” ESV