Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Staying Out of Harms Way
“It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him" (Deuteronomy 13:4). Upon entering the promise land the children of Israel faced a powerful foe. That enemy was idolatry, which Moses had strongly cautioned his followers against. Every foreign land has idols and the Canaanites worshiped, among other gods, Baal, he was the favorite god among the Canaanites (the people who lived in the land of Palestine). Some of the Israelites became Baal worshipers, including King Ahab, under the influence of his wicked, Baal worshiping wife, Jezebel. The false god Baal was believed to be the storm god. The farmers looked to Baal to give them success in growing crops. They believed he controlled the weather. When the children of Israel moved into the promised land, they lived among the Canaanites, and some became Baal worshipers. In a conversation over the back fence, a Canaanite might have advised his Israelite neighbor "You had better offer sacrifices to Baal, or your seed might be bad or you might not get rain this season." There is never a good time to listen to the counsel of the ungodly. The problem with idol worship is the glory that belongs to the Lord is given to a false god. Who is the One who is really in charge of the rain, seed germination and storms? The true and living God is in charge and He must receive the credit due Him. Because God is sovereign over all His creation and He is in absolute control, all glory goes to the Almighty. Moses also cautions against the idolatry that could rise among themselves. That is why we need to be well acquainted with the truths and precepts of the Scriptures. For we can expect to be tested by temptations of evil that come under the appearance of good, and we will face error that comes in the guise of truth. God's Word will equip us with the discernment needed to rightly oppose such temptations. One way we demonstrate our love for the Lord is by rejecting that which is false and pretentious and clinging to that which is true and right. We are not only to reject the temptation but we are not even to give the temptation a hearing. We must plug our ears and reject such details with disdain. We may even have to utter "Get behind me Satan." Some temptation is so vile that we are not to debate about it or allow our minds to ponder it. Keeping out of harms way works best when we are walking with the Lord. That is why we are to "Hold fast to the Lord." Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.