Scarecrows in a cucumber field

20th August, 2013 - Posted by Claire Larsen - No Comments

“Their idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field.” (Jeremiah 10:5)

These words of the LORD God through the pen of Jeremiah evokes a colorful image in my mind. What is a scarecrow and what does it do? A scarecrow is a funny-looking, hay-stuffed doll-like figure attached to a pole in the middle of a garden patch. It wears a silly grin on its face and silver discs like pie plates dangle from its outstretched arms. Its job is to scare away birds who would feast on the ripening crops.  And, like the silly song from The Wizard of Oz, scarecrows don’t have a brain.

So, how effective are these odd manmade creatures at the task? Well, how often have you passed a field and seen birds feasting in the shadow of the scarecrows arms?  The shiny discs that catch the gleam of the sun and rattle may help, but isn’t it God who causes the wind to blow that moves the plates?  Jeremiah writes that the idols of man cannot speak, cannot walk, and have to be carried to the field. “Do not be afraid of them,” he says, “for they cannot do evil, neither is it in them to do good.”

In other words, Jeremiah says that not only are scarecrow-like idols are nothing to fear, but they can’t help us either.  A few verses later Jeremiah describes our God, the One who utters His voice and makes things happen.  He is the One who made the earth, brings the rain and lightning, and calls the wind forth from His storehouses to blow upon the fields.  He is the One who makes the scarecrows’ silver disks frighten away the birds.

The idols of our hearts are just as powerless as the Baals of the Old Testament. We cling to our wants and cringe in our fears, and forget that the God we worship is the Creator of all things. Jeremiah asks the question that should be in each of our minds, “Who would not fear you, O King of the nations? For this is your due.”



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