Genesis 45:1-8 New International Version
Joseph Makes Himself Known
1Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, “Have everyone leave my presence!” So there was no one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers.
2 And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it.
3 Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence.
4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt!
5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.
6 For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping.
7 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.[a]
8 “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.
Genesis 45:10-15 New International Version
10 You shall live in the region of Goshen and be near me—you, your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all you have.
11 I will provide for you there, because five years of famine are still to come. Otherwise you and your household and all who belong to you will become destitute.’
12 “You can see for yourselves, and so can my brother Benjamin, that it is really I who am speaking to you.
13 Tell my father about all the honor accorded me in Egypt and about everything you have seen. And bring my father down here quickly.”
14 Then he threw his arms around his brother Benjamin and wept, and Benjamin embraced him, weeping.
15 And he kissed all his brothers and wept over them. Afterward his brothers talked with him.
1 Corinthians 13 The Message
The Way of Love
1 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
2 If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
3-7 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first, ”Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.
8-10 Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.
Genesis 45:1-8 New International Version
VANITY OF VANITIES – Pastor Vinu John
“Then I looked on all the works of my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun” (Eccl 2:11).
Solomon had vineyards, gardens and orchards. He had pools of water; he built many mansions; he had silver and gold, men singers and women singers. Although these may not be sinful pleasures they are indeed pleasures of the world.
Being the richest king of his time, Solomon could enjoy all the pleasures of the world, and this he did try. But the statement he makes at the end of his life is that all those pleasures, in the end, only brought trouble to his spirit (vexation of spirit), and that his inner man was restless.
He confessed the emptiness (vanity) of his heart. He reportedly says, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” The more he tried to enjoy the world, the more miserable and unhappy he became.
Apart from the life that comes from God, everything is emptiness or vanity. The Psalmist says, “In Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand are pleasures for evermore”(Psa 16:11).
St Paul emptied himself of everything in the world and, towards the end of his life, although in prison and waiting to be executed, he was jubilant.
Look at the triumphant words of this saint: “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous….Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice!” (Phil 3:1).
“I have all and abound: I am full” (Phil 4:18).
Look at the contrast between St Paul who counted all things as loss for Christ and Solomon who had all the pleasures of the world. The end of the man who counted all things as loss for Christ had a joy and triumph. Even today St Paul’s life and his words give life and light to millions.
Living a lowly life for the sake of Christ will bring joy, peace and triumph, particularly at the end of our life.
Be Careful It’s a Permanent Marker
It was time for the annual Prayer and Planning Retreat for our ministry team. And someone offered their large farmhouse to us. So we took them up on it. We drove out in the country, hauled in our suitcases, and our bags of groceries, and our files, and our bags of groceries, and our flip charts, and our easel, and our bags of groceries.
Now, one of our team, Ryan, was setting up our dry erase board for us; the kind you write on with a dry erase marker. This was a brand new board; we kind of just got it for this occasion, and it was ready for our great ideas to be written on it. And so, Ryan decided once that he set it up, he’d try it out.
So he grabbed a marker and drew an amusing cartoon of us, and everybody gathered around. While we were having a good laugh, somebody said, “You didn’t use the permanent marker did you?” There was this very long, awkward silence followed by a very long groan, and then, “I’m so sorry.”
Poor guy! He really thought it could be erased. I don’t think the word permanent ever occurred to him. I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “Be Careful, It’s a Permanent Marker.” Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Psalm 51. Right out of the very personal diary of King David after his adultery with someone else’s wife, a woman named Bathsheba.
He says, “Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.” He’s hurting badly. “For I know my transgressions and my sin is always before me. Against You, You only have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight.” In verse 7 he says, “Cleanse me and I will be clean. Wash me and I’ll be whiter than snow.” How he so wants to be clean again!
Verse 12, “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.” I don’t know how good the thrill was with that woman, but it didn’t last long. But the bill haunted David a long time after the thrill was gone. Sin is always like that. It promises to give you so much before you do it and then it takes so much from you after you do it. We know David was forgiven.
He says in Psalm 32, “You forgave the guilt of my sin.” But the scars remained. See, sin is a permanent marker. You have no idea the marks it will leave on your relationships with others, your sense of worth, your reputation, people’s trust in you. It could be right now you’re looking at something that’s out-of-bounds spiritually and it’s tempting. It would be easy to give in to that temptation and to tell less than the truth, or to hurt that person who has hurt you, or to get even.
Maybe it’s tempting to give in sexually, or to watch or listen to something that is dirty. Or you just let your anger or bitterness win. But first, would you get your calculator out and add up the bill? It can’t be that good; not when you see how much it will cost you long after the brief benefits of that sin are gone.
You say, “Ron, the marks are already there.” Well, realize that the most deadly marks of all are the record of your sins in God’s spiritual accounting book. And those were erased at the cross where Jesus went to the hell that you and I deserve. Acts 3:19 says, “Repent and turn to God, and your sins will be washed away.”
And His forgiveness is total. It’s eternal because of the nail prints, the permanent marks in His hands and feet; the price He paid to forgive you–His unfathomable love. Forgiveness makes us clean before God. But don’t forget, if you just think you will abuse that grace the scars still remain. We forgave Ryan when he made those marks on that board. Our relationship was okay, but it didn’t make the marks go away.
Sin could be forgiven, but its consequences may be there until we see Jesus. And you just can’t afford those marks. Maybe you’ve never even had that day where you’ve had your sins forgiven by God once and for all, and had the spiritual shower that only the Man who died for them can give you. You know what it is to feel dirty inside and you’re ready to feel clean.
You’re ready to be forgiven. Would you go to our website and let me show you there how to get that to happen in your life; how to begin that relationship? It’s ANewStory.com. My coworker had no idea that the result of putting those little marks on the board could not be erased-permanent marker, just like sin. When you do it God’s way there are no regrets and there are no marks that you can’t erase.
By Ron Hutchcraft
Genesis 42:6-25 King James Version
6 And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph’s brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth.7 And Joseph saw his brethren, and he knew them, but made himself strange unto them, and spake roughly unto them; and he said unto them, Whence come ye? And they said, From the land of Canaan to buy food.
8 And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him.9 And Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed of them, and said unto them, Ye are spies; to see the nakedness of the land ye are come.
10 And they said unto him, Nay, my lord, but to buy food are thy servants come.11 We are all one man’s sons; we are true men, thy servants are no spies.
12 And he said unto them, Nay, but to see the nakedness of the land ye are come.13 And they said, Thy servants are twelve brethren, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and, behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is not.
14 And Joseph said unto them, That is it that I spake unto you, saying, Ye are spies:15 Hereby ye shall be proved: By the life of Pharaoh ye shall not go forth hence, except your youngest brother come hither.
16 Send one of you, and let him fetch your brother, and ye shall be kept in prison, that your words may be proved, whether there be any truth in you: or else by the life of Pharaoh surely ye are spies.17 And he put them all together into ward three days.
18 And Joseph said unto them the third day, This do, and live; for I fear God:19 If ye be true men, let one of your brethren be bound in the house of your prison: go ye, carry corn for the famine of your houses:
20 But bring your youngest brother unto me; so shall your words be verified, and ye shall not die. And they did so.21 And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us.
22 And Reuben answered them, saying, Spake I not unto you, saying, Do not sin against the child; and ye would not hear? therefore, behold, also his blood is required.23 And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for he spake unto them by an interpreter.
24 And he turned himself about from them, and wept; and returned to them again, and communed with them, and took from them Simeon, and bound him before their eyes.25 Then Joseph commanded to fill their sacks with corn, and to restore every man’s money into his sack, and to give them provision for the way: and thus did he unto them.
Psalm 61 King James Version (KJV)
1 Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.
2 From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
3 For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.
4 I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.
5 For thou, O God, hast heard my vows: thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear thy name.
6 Thou wilt prolong the king’s life: and his years as many generations.
7 He shall abide before God for ever: O prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him.
8 So will I sing praise unto thy name for ever, that I may daily perform my vows.
LEARNING THE SECRET OF CONTENTMENT – by Dr. Michael Rydelnik (W.M.B.W)
A recent blog post I read was titled, “The Unattainable Urge to Want What We Can’t Have.” It spoke about our desire for both people and stuff, and the more inaccessible an item is, the more we tend to want it. This rather common human desire has a biblical word—covetousness.
And in the Ten Words that Will Change Our Lives (or what some translations call the Ten Commandments), there is a definite prohibition against coveting.
Exodus 20:17 says, “Do not covet your neighbor’s house. Do not covet your neighbor’s wife, his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” Notice that coveting, or the uncontrolled desire to acquire what belongs to someone else, relates to both property and to people, to stuff and relationships that don’t belong to us.
The entire advertising industry is based on getting people to acquire more stuff. That’s how we get into debt. Someone once said his problem wasn’t that he had too little money but that he had too much want. Another study recently pointed out that when a single woman meets a single guy, 57% were interested in exploring a possible relationship.
But if that man was already in a relationship with another woman, the number jumps to 90% of single women being interested in a relationship with him. It just shows the impact of covetousness on relationships.
That’s why the tenth word that will change our lives is contentment, or satisfaction with what we already have. In Philippians 4:13 Paul wrote, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.” Contentment is an attitude that doesn’t come naturally; we must learn it. So here are five ways to learn the secret of contentment.
First, to learn contentment, we need to refocus our perspective. 1 Timothy 6:7-8 says, “For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these.” This verse reminds us to focus on the eternal not the present.
Remember, you’ll never see a hearse pulling a U-Haul. Also, it prompts us focus on what is essential, what we really need, not everything we want. I once saw a billboard advertising the lottery with one question written on it—“How much money do you need to be happy?” Truth to tell and contrary to that ad, very little.
The second way to learn contentment is to resist comparison to others. That’s why Paul wrote, “People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction” (1 Tim 6:9). This is the danger of seeing what others have and wanting the same or more. It’s possible to admire what others have without insisting on having it for ourselves.
Yet a third step in learning contentment is to rejoice in God’s gifts. The wise man wrote, “Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work—this is a gift of God” (Eccles 5:19). Also, he wrote, “Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth (Prov 5:18).
Remember to explicitly thank God for everything we have and to celebrate every relationship that He has granted us. Being grateful for God’s good gifts will keep us from yearning for what is not ours.
A fourth aspect of learning contentment is always to remember what we deserve. The prophet Jeremiah reminded us, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail” (Lamentations 3:22).
Mistakenly, we believe we deserve more stuff, more wealth, and better relationships. But, in reality, if we got what we deserved, all we’d be is a small pile of ashes, consumed by the judgment of a righteous God. God is merciful and gracious and that’s why we’re not consumed and instead given so many good gifts.
A fifth and final way to learn contentment is to release our money and possessions to others. Speaking of the affluent, Paul wrote, “Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share” (1 Tim 6:18).
One of the ways God teaches contentment is by allowing us to give of our wealth and of our stuff. Fred Smith said, “Giving is the drain plug of our greed.” Instead of unwholesome wanting, generous giving enables us to be content with what we have.
The Talmud asks and answers this question: “Who is wealthy? He who is content with what he has.” Therefore, we all have it within us to be rich.
There was once a group of women studying the book of Malachi in the Old Testament. As they were studying chapter three, they came across verse three, which says: “He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.”
This verse puzzled the women, and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find out about the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible study.
That week this woman called up a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn’t mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver.
As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities.
The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot – then she thought again about the verse, that he sits as a refiner and purifier of silver. She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined.
The man answered “Yes”, and explained that he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left even a moment too long in the flames, it would be damaged.
The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, “How do you know when the silver is fully refined?”He smiled at her and answered, “Oh, that’s easy. When I see my image in it.”
If today you are feeling the heat of this world’s fire, just remember that God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ are refining you. “You are predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ.”- Unknown
As I walked on the beach the other day I noticed that certain areas were closed off by fences and signs that said “Sea Turtle Eggs.”I remembered reading that female sea turtles swim to shore between May and August to dig nests in the sand and lay their eggs.
Months later, the eggs hatch and the baby turtles follow the pure light of the moon back to the surf.In a perfect world, the pure light of the moon guides every turtle back safely to the ocean.However, as we know, we don’t live in a perfect world.
Sea Turtle hatchlings instinctively crawl toward the brightest light. On an undeveloped beach, the brightest light is the moon. On a developed beach, the brightest light can be an artificial light source emanating from restaurants, homes and condominiums along the coast.
Unfortunately, these powerful artificial sources of light often attract the hatchlings and cause them to move in the wrong direction when they are born.Rather than follow the pure light of the moon to the ocean the sea turtles follow the wrong light to a disastrous outcome.
It occurred to me that we humans face a similar challenge.Rather than follow the path we were meant to follow, unfortunately we too often are distracted by things that move us in the wrong direction.
Technology, online games, too much time on Facebook, bad habits, addictions, stress, busyness and meaningless distractions lead us astray.Instead of following the pure light of perfection we allow bright and shiny artificial things to sabotage our journey.
So, what about you?Are you following your priorities and pure light to the right destination or are you allowing artificial distractions to lead you in the wrong direction?Are you following the path you were meant to follow or are you letting meaningless things keep you from being your best?
The great news is that unlike sea turtles we have the ability to think, adapt and change direction when we realize we are following the wrong path.We can tune out the distractions and focus on our priorities and let the pure light lead us to an ocean of possibilities and a great future!What does this article mean to you? Share your thoughts on our blog or Facebook page.
-By Jon Gordon
Genesis 37:2-11 King James Version
2 These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report.
3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours.
4 And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.
5 And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.
6 And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed:
7 For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.
8 And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.
9 And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.
10 And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?
11 And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.
Genesis 37:23-24 King James Version
23 And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stript Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him;
24 And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.
Genesis 37:28 King James Version
28 Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.
Why did God allow Polygamy in the Bible?
By Ravi Zacharias
I believe one of the most profound poems ever written was penned by an Englishman named Francis Thompson. Thompson was a genius, but he became a drug addict and was on the run for many years.
Towards the later part of his life he wrote the magnificent masterpiece he called
“The Hound of Heaven.”
The poem describes God as the persistent hound who, with loving feet, follows and follows until he catches up with this person who is trying to run and flee from him. Writes Thompson:
“I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled him down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the midst of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped;
And shot, precipitated,
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmed fears,
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.”
As the poem comes to an end, Thompson depicts the persistent cry of God to the one who flees his presence, the one God pursues to the end:
“Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,
I am He Whom thou seekest!
Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me.”
With the wisdom of one who had found himself chased after, Thompson notes the heart of God and the contradiction of humanity. We run away, fearful that if we have God, we might have nothing else beside.
And God says, “You were weak and blind and miserable when you were driving me away, because you were actually driving love away from you. It is Me you seek.”
|The Warnings Against Idol Worship|
The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons, and the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk; (Revelation 9:20 NASB)
The condemnation of idolatry, usually defined as worship of any cult image, idea, or object, is found throughout the Bible. For example, the first two commandments state…
Then God spoke all these words, saying,
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
(1) “You shall have no other gods before Me.
(2) “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.
(3) “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing loving kindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. (Exodus 20:1-6 NASB)
Note: “Jealous” does not mean He is suspicious or distrustful, but that He demands exclusive devotion.
And many, many other verses endorse the commandment that prohibits idolatry. Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves molten gods; I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 19:4 NASB)
You shall not make for yourselves idols, nor shall you set up for yourselves an image or a sacred pillar, nor shall you place a figured stone in your land to bow down to it; for I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 26:1 NASB)
I said to them, ‘Cast away, each of you, the detestable things of his eyes, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt; I am the Lord your God.’ (Ezekiel 20:7 NASB)
I said to their children in the wilderness, ‘Do not walk in the statutes of your fathers or keep their ordinances or defile yourselves with their idols. ‘I am the Lord your God; walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and observe them. (Ezekiel 20:18-19 NASB)
Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Repent and turn away from your idols and turn your faces away from all your abominations. (Ezekiel 14:6 NASB)
Then Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘you shall worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'” (Matthew 4:10 NASB) but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood. (Acts 15:20 NASB)
Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.
For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. (Romans 1:22-25 NASB)
Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. (1 Corinthians 10:14 NASB)
In fact idolatry is singled out in the Bible as the most abominable of sins
Thus Zimri destroyed all the household of Baasha, according to the word of the Lord, which He spoke against Baasha through Jehu the prophet, for all the sins of Baasha and the sins of Elah his son, which they sinned and which they made Israel sin, provoking the Lord God of Israel to anger with their idols. (1 Kings 16:12-13 NASB)”
Then He said, ‘I will hide My face from them, I will see what their end shall be; For they are a perverse generation, Sons in whom is no faithfulness. ‘They have made Me jealous with what is not God; They have provoked Me to anger with their idols. So I will make them jealous with those who are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation, (Deuteronomy 32:20-21 NASB)
Behold, listen! The cry of the daughter of my people from a distant land: “Is the Lord not in Zion? Is her King not within her?” “Why have they provoked Me with their graven images, with foreign idols?” (Jeremiah 8:19 NASB)”I will first doubly repay their iniquity and their sin, because they have polluted My land; they have filled My inheritance with the carcasses of their detestable idols and with their abominations.” (Jeremiah 16:18 NASB)
All mankind is stupid, devoid of knowledge; Every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols, For his molten images are deceitful, And there is no breath in them. They are worthless, a work of mockery; In the time of their punishment they will perish. (Jeremiah 51:17-18 NASB)
The Consequences of Idol Worship
In the Old Testament Isaiah and Ezekiel were very clear as to the fate of those who indulged in idolatry,The pride of man will be humbled And the loftiness of men will be abased; And the Lord alone will be exalted in that day, But the idols will completely vanish.
Men will go into caves of the rocks And into holes of the ground Before the terror of the Lord And the splendor of His majesty, When He arises to make the earth tremble. In that day men will cast away to the moles and the bats Their idols of silver and their idols of gold, Which they made for themselves to worship, In order to go into the caverns of the rocks and the clefts of the cliffs Before the terror of the Lord and the splendor of His majesty, When He arises to make the earth tremble. (Isaiah 2:17-21 NASB)
They will be turned back and be utterly put to shame, Who trust in idols, Who say to molten images, “You are our gods.” (Isaiah NASB)They will be put to shame and even humiliated, all of them; The manufacturers of idols will go away together in humiliation. (Isaiah 45:16. 42:17 NASB)’So as I live,’ declares the Lord GOD, ‘surely, because you have defiled My sanctuary with all your detestable idols and with all your abominations, therefore I will also withdraw, and My eye will have no pity and I will not spare. (Ezekiel 5:11 NASB)
“So your altars will become desolate and your incense altars will be smashed; and I will make your slain fall in front of your idols. “I will also lay the dead bodies of the sons of Israel in front of their idols; and I will scatter your bones around your altars. “In all your dwellings, cities will become waste and the high places will be desolate, that your altars may become waste and desolate, your idols may be broken and brought to an end, your incense altars may be cut down, and your works may be blotted out. (Ezekiel 6:4-6 NASB)
So were Paul and John in the New. Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, (1 Corinthians 6:9 NASB)
Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21 NASB)
For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. (Ephesians 5:5-6 NASB)
Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, (Colossians 3:5-6 NASB)
The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons, and the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk; (Revelation 9:20 NASB)
“But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8 NASB)
All of which brings us to the question of why? Why was idolatry so strongly condemned in the Scriptures – so strictly forbidden with such severe consequences for disobeying very express commands to stay away from idol worship.
Idols.. Images of gods or Demons in Disguise?
Elijah And The Priests Of Baal:
It is interesting that when Elijah challenged the priests of Baal atop of Mount Carmel to persuade their god to perform a miracle, the pagan priests beseeched their god without the use of an idol, which certainly indicates that Baal was not just an idol, but rather one of the polytheistic gods that could be worshipped through an idol.While the ancients believed that Baal was a god, the Bible is very clear that false gods are nothing more than demons which accounts for the strongly worded commandments against their worship.
Note how the Bible does not differentiate between sacrifices made to idols and sacrifices made to demons and that wine poured out as a libation, or drank by the worshipers was the “cup of demons””They sacrificed to demons who were not God, To gods whom they have not known, New gods who came lately, Whom your fathers did not dread. (Deuteronomy 32:17 NASB)
They (the Israelites) did not destroy the peoples, As the Lord commanded them, But they mingled with the nations And learned their practices, And served their idols, Which became a snare to them. They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons, And shed innocent blood, The blood of their sons and their daughters, Whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; And the land was polluted with the blood. (Psalms 106:34-38 NASB)
What do I mean then? That a thing sacrificed to idols (Gk. eido?lon) is anything, or that an idol (Gk. eido?lon) is anything? No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons (Gk. daimonion) and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons (Gk. daimonion). You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons (Gk. daimonion); you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons (Gk. daimonion). (1 Corinthians 10:19-21 NASB)
In other words the pagan images, the lifeless statues of ancient gods and goddesses were simply the face of the daimonia (demons) which may also be one explanation for the hideous faces given many of these images (Ex. the eight-armed, demonic looking, goddess Kali depicted as holding a skull in one of her hands) are far more than man made images.
It is fair to conclude the characterization of such deities as “Zeus,” “Amun-Ra,” “Demeter,” and “Isis,” were simply the classical names attributed to specific fallen spirits. The images (falcon headed statues, animal forms, etc) provided a point of focus. It is interesting to note that each of these deities has specific characteristics such as nature, gender and authority which would probably not be the case if they were nothing but inert man made statues. See The New Age and Devil Worship
In other words, Apollo was a real personality; Osiris was a genuine underworld fiend; Hecate actually lived, and still does! Ishtar, the goddess of love and war who played a major role among the Canaanites as Astarte (the Israelites knew her as Ashtoreth) was a real live demon. Isis, one of the most important deities of ancient Egypt is still revered by pagans today.
The Hindu gods Shiva and the eight-armed demonic looking goddess Kali depicted as holding a skull in one of her hands are far more than man made images. It is no wonder the apostle John warned believers to beware of them.Little children, guard yourselves from idols. (1 John 5:21 NASB)
Idolatry and Other Religions
Hinduism: In Hinduism, “an idol or an image is not a lifeless form but a living embodiment of God thus “a superior form of divine worship” . Even the most philosophically sophisticated and ethically advanced Hindus usually worship before idols. To add to which, occult practices such as those condemned in Deuteronomy 18:9-14 [divination, telling fortunes, interpreting omens, consulting a medium etc. are common in Hinduism.
Buddhism: Although there does not seem to be any evidence of the promoting of idol worship by Buddha, statues of him flood the world of present day Buddhism. The official position is that “The images are erected as a mark of respect and appreciation for the highest achievement of enlightenment and perfection by an extraordinary religious teacher”. Symbols which helps the Buddhist “recall or to remember the Buddha”. The reality is probably a little different, with very little “pure” Buddhism being practiced in the world today. The ultimate aim of Buddhism is “Nirvana”, a perfect peace of mind that is free from suffering, desire, anger and the cycle of rebirth. The individual becomes one with the universe. See The Message of the Bible
Islam itself condemns idolatry, but has fundamentally unbiblical views of God and Salvation (See Section on Islam)
The Final End of Idolatry
One of Isaiah’s prophecies concerning the end times says thisThe pride of man will be humbled And the loftiness of men will be abased; And the Lord alone will be exalted in that day, But the idols will completely vanish. (Isaiah 2:17-18 NASB)
As did Micah and Zechariah”I will also cut off the cities of your land And tear down all your fortifications. “I will cut off sorceries from your hand, And you will have fortune-tellers no more. “I will cut off your carved images And your sacred pillars from among you, So that you will no longer bow down To the work of your hands. “I will root out your Asherim from among you And destroy your cities. (Micah 5:11-14 NASB)
“It will come about in that day,” declares the Lord of hosts, “that I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, and they will no longer be remembered; and I will also remove the prophets and the unclean spirit from the land. (Zechariah 13:2 NASB)As Isaiah said “the Lord alone will be exalted in that day”End Notes
Reasons For Idol
Worship in Hinduism. http://www.hinduwebsite.com/idols.asp