Friday, August 05, 2005

Deuteronomy 18:9-14 p12

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart

Deuteronomy 18:14 For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.

What is idolatry? Simply, idolatry is the making of an image, representing a form in which to project an image of a deity (a god or gods) for which such deity has no form. This image is not god nor does it retain any power. Witchcraft (divination) is a form of idolatry, yet much different in practice and purpose, such as with the worship of Moloch. (We will look more closely on the subject of divination in the next article)

Idolatry, as described from the Old Testament, is creating an image (in various forms) offering to the person something in which he is able to witness towards himself, to see and to touch, to grasp hold of, to experience. The golden calf the Israelites made is the perfect example of idolatry. Believing Moses was dead, they created an image, a golden calf. They used their finest jewelry and metals to mold it. They were satisfying their need and desire to have god within their presence.

When Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD. And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play (Ex:32:5-6).
Exodus 32:8 They have quickly turned from the way I commanded them; they have made for themselves an image of a calf. They have bowed down to it, sacrificed to it, and said, 'Israel, this is your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.
Idol worship attempts to bring forward the representation of a deity by the use of images, in which to offer substance to that which stands in place of the idol, that which defines a deity. Put another way, worshipping an idol is motivated by the want and desire to worship god using the idol in the effort to represent the deity. Yet the idol is not the deity. In essence, idolatry seeks to worship god by the use of images created by human hands; an idol. The Bible teaches clearly this is deception (Lev:19:4, Deut:29:17, 2Kings:23:24, 1Chr:16:26, Psalms:106:36, Isa:2:8, Eze:14:6, Hos:13:2, Zec:10:2, Acts:21:25, 1Thess:1:9, Rev:9:20)

Idolatry: WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University
  • Religious zeal; willingness to serve God.
  • The worship of idols; the worship of images that are not God.
The forms of idolatry are: Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
  • Fetishism The worship of trees, rivers, hills, stones, etc.
  • Nature worship The worship, of the sun, moon, and stars, as the supposed powers of nature.
  • Hero worship The worship of deceased ancestors, or of heroes.
Idolatry is simply worshipping deity through the use of images, from the desire to communicate with god by offering sacrifice and seeking favor. Many are lost to the true living God, because they continue to use dead images, made by their own hand, attempting to bring god towards them, on their terms, that which feels right to them because it is pleasing to that which soothes the intellect, the mind, based upon feelings and emotions.

Yet, they continue to deny truth, because the heart remains hardened and in rebellion towards God, denying Jesus Christ as The Savior and the only way to God. This is unbelief and it is unbelief that brings forward sin. Here is the mind which sets itself first, the very definition of pride; covetousness. This is what God declares as sin. That man does not believe God, denying truth, creating his own god, his own truth.

Here is Satan's effort, taking from God that which God desires to bring unto himself; redemption of the individual soul. God forces no person to accept his declared, written truth. God does have a plan and a program, in which He will carry though to the very end. None are able to stay his purpose as He rides victoriously in his own chariot, moving forward with his program to redeem those whom He has called. They are those who will answer that call and repent of their sin. This is; the will of God.
Habakkuk 2:18 What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols?
Man is a freethinking, moral agent. He is able to make his own decisions; he is the captain of his soul. His heart belongs only to himself. The totality of the soul is embodied within the heart. [From] the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man (Matt:15:19-20).

God clearly revealed himself, visually, to the Israelites as He delivered them out of Egypt, from slavery and bondage, working miracles and dwelling in their presence. This event happened to no nation or people, except the Israelites and the surrounding nations which witnessed those events (Josh:2:9-11). God revealed himself during the time of the Exodus, He revealed his Shekinah glory, He revealed himself through dreams and visions. God ultimately revealed himself in human form through the person of Jesus. Immanuel, God with us (Isa:7:14). The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary describes Image - worship as: Divine honour paid to any created object.
Paul describes the origin of idolatry in Romans 1:21-25: men forsook God, and sank into ignorance and moral corruption (1:28).
  • In Scripture, idolatry is regarded as of heathen origin, and as being imported among the Hebrews through contact with heathen nations.
  • The first and second commandments are directed against idolatry of every form.
  • No facts are more strongly declared in the Old Testament than that the extermination of the Canaanites was the punishment of their idolatry (Ex. 34:15, 16; Deut. 7;12:29-31; 20:17), and that the calamities of the Israelites were due to the same cause (Jer. 2:17). "A city guilty of idolatry was looked upon as a cancer in the state; it was considered to be in rebellion, and treated according to the laws of war. Its inhabitants and all their cattle were put to death."
Here is where we find Satan, working in opposition to God, attempting to deceive mankind by denying the truth of the living God: and Eve said: "of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. The serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil" (Gen:3:34).

We see clearly within these verses of Deuteronomy 18:9-14, the historical record of ancient Israel, that God declares we are not to hearken unto the spirit world. Yet Israel did not listen to God and turned unto idols. As a result, they were taken into captivity by Babylon and their Temple was destroyed. This is a living testimony to the truth of God's word, given for our benefit. We are to turn from idolatry and listen to the Prophet that Moses said would come. Jesus did come and fulfilled that prophecy, revealing the true living God. He showed what we must do to find God, because mankind seeks to find, that which is impressed upon our hearts; that God is.....

The following is an example of a pagan man (a gentile) named, Cornelius. We find that he has genuine motivation in seeking truth because his heart is right. Cornelius is lacking in the knowledge of who God is and what He has declared.
Acts 10:1-2 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always.
We find that, in his heart, Cornelius was seeking truth even though he was idolatrous in his practice (pagan worship). That he is genuine in his desire to know and please God. Cornelius was ignorant of God's truth simply because he did not know the true and living God.

This is Satan's work, to deny truth, attempting to keep the word of God away from those who seek truth. God only speaks to mankind through his written word. Once we are grounded in these truths, then our relative experience can be looked at according to the word of God.
Matthew 4:4 ....Jesus answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
In this day, people continue in idolatry through a variety of ways. It may be the picture of Jesus hanging on the wall or the Buddha statue that sits quietly. Idolatry today is not so much the making of an idol as much as it is covetousness; the desire for possession, material wealth, worldly things, desire of obtaining and possessing some supposed good, infatuation, immorality, possessiveness, envy, pride.
We covet what is guarded; the very care invokes the thief. Few love what they may have. ~Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso) Amorum (III, 4, 25)

By Jove, I am not covetous for gold, Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost; It yearns me not if me my garments wear; Such outward things dwell not in my desires: But if it be a sin to covet honor, I am the most offending soul alive. ~William Shakespeare The Life of King Henry the Fifth
Many people simply remain in rebellion to the truth of God's word. They reject Jesus Christ as God. This is Satan's work, clearly revealed throughout scripture. This is the testimony of Israel as recorded in the Old Testament. Their testimony, their history, is a revelation of the true spiritual condition of mankind today. Man's spiritual condition has not changed since those days. There is nothing new under the sun, that which has not already been revealed.

Cornelius was called a devout man who feared God. Clearly he was seeking God within his heart. God's word makes known, that when a person seeks truth, God will reveal truth to that person. We see that the issue of truth starts with the heart first, because it is the heart that seeks truth. The New Covenant, which Jesus declared, is clearly revealed throughout the New Testament.
Matthew 22:36-40 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
We find that, even though idolatry is not necessarily intentionally evil, it is indeed in rebellion to God's written truth. The example of Cornelius is of a man who was seeking God in his heart but that, he did not know the true God, he did not know Jesus Christ. God makes known that any person who desires to find truth, He will reveal himself to that person. God did this with Cornelius, eventually sending Peter to him. Cornelius, a pagan idol worshipper, was used of God to reveal truth to Peter, God's chosen apostle. Peter's testimony of Jesus to Cornelius, is what the great commission is all about, declaring the Gospel message to all the world. That Jesus proved he was God, was put to death and rose from the dead. To believe in God but deny Jesus Christ, is nothing more than idolatry, blindness and deception.

These scriptures are given for any person such as Cornelius. God does answer the sincere search to find truth, to find God, because it is the heart that seeks truth.

Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts?
or who hath given understanding to the heart?

Copyright Wendell Leahy
published by


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