Summary of passage: Isaiah asks who or what will we compare God to. If we compare Him to an idol, an idol is first cast and then covered in gold and silver chains. A poor man selects good wood (presumably instead of metal or some material more durable for an idol that a richer man would choose) and looks for a skilled craftsman to make sure his idol does not topple.
5a) A craftsman and a goldsmith and a poor man who looks for a skilled craftsman. A craftsman casts the idol in an image and a goldsmith covers it in gold and silver ornaments and a poor man tries to find someone who will make a nice idol without it toppling over.
b) Psalms 115:4-7; 135:15-18 Idols are made by the hands of men; they cannot speak, see, hear, smell, feel, walk, talk and those who make them and trust in them will be like them (the idols)
Jeremiah 10:8-16 Idols are worthless, objects of mockery; they are a fraud with no breath in them; they will perish from the earth. Idol-makers are foolish and senseless. The makers are shamed by their idols and when their judgment comes, they will perish.
Habakkuk 2:18-19 Idols have no value since a man has carved it; they have no breath in them and cannot give guidance. Woe to idol-makers who trust in their own creation.
c) God is Creator; idols are created. God made people; people make idols. God breathes life; idols are breathless. God speaks and God lives; idols don’t. God sees, hears, smells, feels, and answers prayers; idols just sit there. God is everything; idols are nothing. Structurally speaking, God is the action and idols are acted upon. God is the verb. Idols are nouns. God does. Idols don’t do anything.
6a) Celebrities, money, material objects and wealth, other people in power
b) Sometimes I envy everything in 6a but as far as actual worship, I am not sure. But I do allow life elements to get put before God–busy deeds such as surfing Internet and just getting caught up in the day-to-day living instead of being still and knowing He is God. I am guilty of allowing life to lead me at times but as always I am trying to keep Him as my center in my fallible human way.
Conclusions: First Commandment: You shall have no other gods before me. Second Commandment: You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. Exodus 20:3-6
I would think these are important to God since they are above the others we tend to remember: don’t commit murder, adultery, steal, or covet your neighbor’s house or wife.
Bowing down and praying to foreign idols was a real problem in Isaiah’s time. The influence of foreign cultures and their gods was one of the sins that led to God’s punishment of exile of His chosen people. People were (and are today) easily influenced and didn’t have the benefit of technology and an interconnected world as we do to more easily know the One, True God.
We, in the twenty-first century, have trouble relating to such a culture since ours is mostly homogenous in the sense people worship one God. But instead of a physical idol like a golden calf or something, people today do worship other things such as material wealth, people, etc so in this sense we can relate.
It’s important to be cognizant of our God, who admits he is jealous over us (of all insignificant things!) and of putting Him first and to make sure He knows He is first in our hearts.