Deut 7: Part 3: Chosen, Curses, and Dangerous Covetousness

Kepis Kreations Jewelry

The last discussion point brought up in Deuteronomy 7 is something I am terming “Dangerous Covetousness”.

Songdove Books - 07_Moses_Golden_Calf_JPEG_1024Deuteronomy 7:25-26  The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the LORD thy God.  26  Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing.

In the pluralistic, tolerance-preaching, politically correct world in which we now live, the above directive is easily seen as an affront to personal decorative taste around the home and in the garden.  No doubt as soon as I said that, at least one reader immediately thought of the statuettes on the mantel over the fireplace and the decorative statues dotting the garden outside.  Many of these so-called “decorations” actually look like hindu and buddhist gods and goddesses.

The implications of this passage are not easily accepted, believed, or even heard.  For God to say that even the gold or silver on the graven image could bring a snare and is considered an abomination before God.  God goes even so far as to say that obtaining these materials from off the graven image could bring a curse to one’s self or their household, and that curse would be similar to the curse as if the idol had actually entered their home in its entirety.

Kepis Kreations JewelryWhy is this?  Materials can be dedicated to God’s purposes, and they can be dedicated to satan’s purposes even if it is merely to a so-called idol.  God does not want anything that has been dedicated to the enemy’s purposes, in the home of the believer.  Later in Deuteronomy, God lays it out a little clearer:

Deuteronomy 27:15  Cursed be the man that maketh any graven or molten image, an abomination unto the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and putteth it in a secret place. And all the people shall answer and say, Amen.

Even the mere crafting of an idol brings down God’s curse upon the one making it.

God mocks the creation of such images in Isaiah where He says:

Isaiah 44:14-20  He heweth him down cedars, and taketh the cypress and the oak, which he strengtheneth for himself among the trees of the forest: he planteth an ash, and the rain doth nourish it.  15  Then shall it be for a man to burn: for he will take thereof, and warm himself; yea, he kindleth it, and baketh bread; yea, he maketh a god, and worshippeth it; he maketh it a graven image, and falleth down thereto.  16  He burneth part thereof in the fire; with part thereof he eateth flesh; he roasteth roast, and is satisfied: yea, he warmeth himself, and saith, Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire:  17  And the residue thereof he maketh a god, even his graven image: he falleth down unto it, and worshippeth it, and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me; for thou art my god.  18  They have not known nor understood: for he hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see; and their hearts, that they cannot understand.  19  And none considereth in his heart, neither is there knowledge nor understanding to say, I have burned part of it in the fire; yea, also I have baked bread upon the coals thereof; I have roasted flesh, and eaten it: and shall I make the residue thereof an abomination? shall I fall down to the stock of a tree?  20  He feedeth on ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?

Now in the New Testament, the Apostle Paul gets quite straight, to the point, and “in your face” regarding people who thought themselves wise who crafted graven images:

Romans 1:22-32  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,  23  And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.  24  Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:  25  Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.  26  For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:  27  And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.  28  And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;  29  Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,  30  Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,  31  Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:  32  Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

It’s an interesting projection there, don’t you think?  To go from making an idol to a false god and from there into all manner of sinful and evil ways!  But God won’t force mankind’s hand.  If mankind is seriously that determined to worship false gods, God will back off.  When the hand of God is removed, evil is unrestrained.  The most extreme form of idol worship will take place under the reign of the AntiChrist when the Tribulation (with a capital T, not the small t tribulations Christ said we’d always have around us) gets into full swing!  You can read about it in Chapters 13 through 16 in the book of Revelation.

But what if someone walks up to you and says, “Look, it’s just gold/silver!  Surely we can repurpose this and dedicate it instead to God’s purposes!”  While it isn’t wise to question God’s wisdom, at the same time, God respects those who see materials for what they are and who strip all meaning away from them in their personal usage.  We read about this in the following passage:

1 Corinthians 8:4-13  As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.  5  For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)  6  But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.  7  Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.  8  But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.  9  But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.  10  For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;  11  And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?  12  But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.  13  Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.

Now some will use this as an excuse to engage in a wide range of normally questionable activities.  However Paul has a warning here that all mature Christians who understand their freedom in Christ, should listen to.  Just because a person feels strong enough in their faith to ignore and render meaningless, any prior dedication of an object or its components, does not mean that person is free to do so in the presence of a weaker brother for whom such dedications mean so much more.  Notice this is addressed to the person who views themselves as stronger, and that such people who are more concerned with past uses are considered weaker.  I use the word “considered” as a condescending term in this context, because God in Deuteronomy 7:25-26 does not make light of such dedications Himself.  Therefore, to call another brother truly weak, would be to call God weak in this context as well.

The emphasis here is on respect for the brother or sister in Christ who gets led astray by the stronger brother’s behaviour.  I am seeing this all over the Church at large right now as countless people get wrapped up into such things as yoga and other eastern mystical endeavors, thinking they are ok when they aren’t.  I wrote extensively on the yoga problem while reviewing a devotional for another author.  I did a debate on the 1 Corinthians passage as a high school student at Family Camp years ago as well.  I have personally witnessed demonic attachment to things on a number of occasions, but would not refer to myself as weak in the faith.  There are definitely times when “repurposing” an object will bring more harm than good to the person or group trying to attempt it.  Spiritual discernment is required, coupled with humility so that one person’s liberty does not become another person’s downfall.  If God didn’t think it wise to covet the workmanship of idols, neither should the Child of God.

Scripture is such a multi-faceted thing is it not?  There are always two or more sides to every coin presented, and there is usually one or more wrong sides for sure!  The three issues presented in this chapter should not be forgotten by the modern Church, or made light of.  They are serious.

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