Friday, August 05, 2005

Deuteronomy 18:9-14 p6

The Spiritual Condition
A picture story impressed upon our heart
When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.

And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. Luke 4:5
This series on Deuteronomy is given for the purpose to demonstrate what idolatry and witchcraft is and why God calls these things an abomination to his holy name. This series will demonstrate how ancient Israel fell into idolatry, practicing witchcraft and a variety of pagan religions, rejecting the very God who delivered their fathers from slavery and bondage, fulfilling his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Throughout their destructive history, God promised to deliver his people, bringing glory through reconciliation, IF they hearkened unto his ways. God stood faithful and true to his written word, remaining patient and longsuffering. Yet, God will not continue forever to strive with mankind, having warned humanity that the day will come when judgment of sin and wickedness will be realized, which happened with Israel in that day.

Today, mankind is in the same spiritual condition as in that day. What a picture we have of the spiritual condition of mankind, as the Bible reveals this simple truth. The history of Israel as told though the Old Testament is a picture of the unbeliever's life. It is a picture of what God has declared through his written word. Israel went from serving God, to rejecting God by accepting idolatry and witchcraft. This is a visual picture of the human condition in our day. With all the technology and human intellectualism of this 21st century, there remains, nothing new under the sun.

Indeed true, as we live in a day that is very similar to that of the prophet Jeremiah. He forewarned of the coming captivity of Judah and the destruction of Jerusalem from Nebuchadnezzar and his feared Babylonian army, as Jeremiah calls it an evil force. Ironic is it not that the book of Revelation declares the exact same thing in the last days? A world leader will take control bringing peace, only to be followed with unprecedented evil as never seen before, nor will ever come again.

Today, our world is swimming in idolatry and witchcraft. God is not the author of confusion as his word is given for all eyes to seek wisdom and understanding. Yet even still, mankind has embraced Satan with all his false religion, declaring the celebration of diversity through tolerance. We see this revealed through music, advertising and merchandising, within our churches. From Astrology to the Tarot card, mankind finds nothing wrong with these things and considers them fun and exciting, harmless, celebrating the vast diversity of human wisdom. This is the darkness mankind has embraced.

Shortly after arriving in the Promised Land the people sinned. God allowed Israel nearly five hundred years to repent of their sin (twice as long as America has been a nation) and turn back to him and his ways. There is no difference in our day today, as the God of this universe is calling people to believe upon Jesus Christ, to be saved from eternal damnation, clearly shown through the New Testament for our benefit and understanding.

The history of Israel testifies to their destruction and captivity, caused by their sin and wickedness. In Isaiah's day, the Assyrian empire took into captivity the Northern Kingdom (Israel). One hundred years later, Jeremiah was warning and pleading with his people to repent and turn to God. Yet none listened to Jeremiah and rejected him as a traitor, a fool. The same is happening in this day as God is all but rejected. And so, Babylon came and took Judah (the southern kingdom), destroying Jerusalem as the people were taken into captivity. Israel was lost for seventy years, yet they were not forgotten.

God allowed the return of his people through the righteous gentile king, Cyrus. The books of Ezra and Nehemiah tell us their story, returning to the land of their fathers and their God. Five hundred years later, the God of this universe walked this earth in our human form, God in the flesh. Emmanuel, God with us, written and prophesied in the Holy Scriptures of the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New Testament.

God allowed the destruction of his land, his people and his holy city Jerusalem, because of their unrepentant sin. Israel rejected God and so, God finally rejected them. The Lord God warned his people through his holy prophets that he had sent, to prove that he was their God and they were his people. Yet the people rejected God and put to death his prophets, choosing their own way and leading, ultimately, unto their destruction.

The New Testament testifies to the declaration of the judgment of sin, of eternal damnation and the reality of a place called Hell. God declares throughout his word that he hates sin and will judge those who sin, practicing wickedness and evil. The wages of sin is death but truth and eternal life come though Jesus Christ. The Bible declares that God will judge every single person. This is realized truth of God's declarations, as told through the Old Testament, because of Israel's continued rejection of God and his word. For nearly five hundred years God protected Israel, remaining patient and longsuffering. Yet because of their continued sin and wickedness, the judgment of God finally came down upon Israel. They were taken captive and their land was destroyed.

From the beginning, the Israelites accepted God's Law from Moses at Mt Sinai. The Lord God delivered them out of slavery and bondage. They traveled the wilderness for forty years. They were about to receive the land promised them, as God had declared he would, through his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The Israelites were prepared to receive their promise and God had shown to be faithful and true to his written word.

While in Egypt for over four hundred years, the Jews had learned the customs and practices of witchcraft and idolatry (zoology). The Jews were to be cleansed of these practices and customs, becoming a holy nation unto the living God Jehovah. That was the purpose for traveling the wilderness for forty years. The actual trip would have normally taken some several days, crossing from Egypt to Gaza. Only Joshua and Caleb crossed into the Promised Land. Not even Moses was allowed to enter into the land. Only the second generation was allowed to enter the land of milk and honey. The reason is simple. The people rejected God. From the golden calf incident, to the borders of the Canaanites, the Israelites did not retain God in their heart, as the New Testament testifies to us today. They complained and murmured as their hearts turned back to what they knew in Egypt.

Is this not true today? Are we not in bondage and slavery unto sin? The Lord has declared he will deliver us to the promised land of eternity and set us in a land flowing with milk and honey. Yet mankind continues to not believe these truths, as clearly revealed though the Biblical testimony.

People today simply reject the true God, claiming the Bible as contradiction and silliness, mocking God as if his word was just a silly story made up through enlightened minds, reaching into the vast unknown of what is God. There is no difference between the thoughts and actions of people in this day than in that day. In today's world, the God of Israel, the true and living God, is rejected as nothing more than a myth, or a gentle grandfather, sitting on a cloud and showering humanity with love, encouraging us to embrace diversity. A good moral story this Bible, written for the human intellect and soul, used as a support tool to get through a hopeless life, searching the mystery of life, though the reality of death. Indeed not true.

The history of Israel is recorded for our benefit. Their testimony is a living picture of the non-believer and backsliding Christian. Why is this true today as in that day? Idolatry is the simple and plain answer. God will have none to do with sin. Today, many religions and beliefs practice witchcraft and idolatry. In most cases never understanding truth. Still others blatantly displaying wickedness in open view, claiming 'who are you to tell me what to do'.

Idolatry and witchcraft rejects the true and living God because these practices attempt communication with the spirit realm, bypassing God altogether. God declares this an abomination because of an evil and wicked spirit realm that not only despises mankind, but also the true and living God, the Creator of all things.

Israel is the prodigal son. The human spiritual condition is the written history of Israel, God's chosen people and land. He chose them not because of their effort or who there were, but to show to the world that Jehovah is God, the Creator and ruler of this universe.

The New Testament gives hope to mankind. God is reaching out to all and pleading: Repent and turn away from your sin, become born again unto God though the Lord Jesus Christ and receive his Holy Spirit. The picture that is presented to mankind through the Bible is perfect evidence for any who are blinded to truth. God is calling out a people unto him in this day, as he did with Israel in that day.

Mankind has the free will to believe what is truth. Most people reject truth simply because they are unwilling to change their sinful ways and hearken unto God's ways. God does not force any person to choose him, leaving that personal decision to each individual, as all people choose some form of truth. What is your truth?

God declares that there will be a time of judgment, that sin and wickedness will be cast into Hell, purged forever and locked out of heaven. What is your heart telling you today? Will you finally listen to what God is saying through his written word, or will you continue to please yourself as Israel did in that day, finding only judgment and destruction in the end.


In the remaining articles of this series, we will be looking at the pagan beliefs and practices Israel accepted and embraced, rejecting the true and living God, bringing wickedness and evil unto their own destruction. The record is given to us for this day so that we may know truth and to know God. Our lives reflect the same spiritual condition in this day and age as in that day. Indeed, there is nothing new under the sun.


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