Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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November 8 – The Powerful Effects Of Idolatry

“But if you carefully obey His voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries. When My Angel goes before you and brings you to the Amorites and the Hittites and the Perizzites and the Canaanites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, and I blot them out, you shall not bow down to their gods nor serve them, nor do as they do, but you shall utterly overthrow them and break their pillars in pieces.” Exodus 23:22-24

Devotional Thought For The Day

The question often arises as to why God could be so harsh and punitive toward whole nations of people.  It certainly has nothing to do with genetics or some idiotic and wicked notion of “racial purity.”  After all, “God has made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation.” [Acts 17:26] Further, “God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son,” and He is “the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world.” [Jn. 3:16; 1:29]  “God wills all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” [1 Tim. 2:4] So we are certainly not observing some sort of “prejudice” on the part of the LORD, the only True and Living God.

What is at issue is “their gods.” Having grown up in a nation which exercises great civility toward religious differences, and having been “sensitized” to the great “good” of multiculturism, we lack the background required to understand the severity of God’s concern in all of this.  The “gods” of these nations required annual participation in the fertility rites, sexual intercourse with the temple prostitutes.  Many also required the literal human sacrifice of their first born males.  Their gods were capricious, immoral, with virtually no concern for the sanctity of life or the sanctity of marriage; they were selfish, greedy, and violent.

While this had obvious influence and impact on the society, the greatest concern is what it turned these people into.  The decadence of their societies merely reflected what was inside of the people, what their hearts were like, what they had become inwardly – and all of this was determined by their “faith” and their “religion,” the nature of their “gods” and their religious practices.  “Faith” and “religion” are never merely weak, cultural, intellectual preference – faith forms a person from the inside out, either for the better [if God alone, as He truly is, is the object of their faith] or for the worse [if any “god” other than the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is the object of their faith].  How could it be otherwise?  Whoever we embrace as “God” is our highest good, and whatever our conception of “God” is will have tremendous impact on who we are, what we are aiming to conform ourselves to as “good.”  This will then influence and ultimately effect what the culture or society is like.

It is no different today, within nations, cultures, and societies. What do societies which have no respect for God or true understanding of His nature end up looking like?  They breed laziness, selfishness, irresponsibility, greed, sexual perversion with little or no respect for either the sanctity of life or that of marriage and family.  They breed self-indulgence, disrespect for the hard work of others, and willingness to assert the right to the possessions of others, even using the coercion of government taxation to seize good things for themselves.  Where the “god” of a culture is violent and coercive, the people reflect “his” character – and are willing to engage in the most wicked, violent, and horrific behaviors on their “god’s” promise of future blessings. These are current and present realities today, even in the “modern” world we live in.  It should not be difficult for us to understand God’s concern with this, and to empathize and agree with His actions against such wickedness, especially when it has become recalcitrant and incorrigible.  This is the real nature of idolatry and godlessness.

Does God change?  Does He think and feel and act differently today than He has in the past?  Are there “special” nations for whom He has a different set of principles and rules?  The answer to all of these questions, based both in the record of Holy Scripture and human history, is a resounding NO! God’s promised blessings are extended only to those who “carefully” heed His Word – to those who have Him as the object of their faith, and who thus are being conformed to His image.  Surely a people who know that “God is love” and who are eager to emulate Him in all His ways will produce a more decent culture, society, and nation!  Religion matters – always, and in all ways!

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus, help us to better understand the deepest and most powerfully determinative aspects of human life and being. Cure our naiveté, and make us more devoted to You.  Grant that all people may know You, the greatness of Your love and the goodness of Your ways.  We pray this first for ourselves, and also for our fellow citizens.  Lord, have mercy!  Amen.