This Insidious Deception Is Leading Christians Straight Into Idolatry

When the Lord your God brings you into the land which you are entering to possess and has plucked away many nations before you, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than you,

And when the Lord your God gives them over to you and you smite them, then you must utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them, or show mercy to them.

You shall not make marriages with them; your daughter you shall not give to his son nor shall you take his daughter for your son,

For they will turn away your sons from following Me, that they may serve other gods; so will the anger of the Lord be kindled against you and He will destroy you quickly.

But thus shall you deal with them: you shall break down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and hew down their Asherim [symbols of the goddess Asherah] and burn their graven images with fire.

For you are a holy and set-apart people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a special people to Himself out of all the peoples on the face of the earth.

The Lord did not set His love upon you and choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the fewest of all people.

But because the Lord loves you and because He would keep the oath which He had sworn to your fathers, the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

Know, recognize, and understand therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, Who keeps covenant and steadfast love and mercy with those who love Him and keep His commandments, to a thousand generations,

And repays those who hate Him to their face, by destroying them; He will not be slack to him who hates Him, but will requite him to his face.

You shall therefore keep and do the instruction, laws, and precepts which I command you this day.

And if you hearken to these precepts and keep and do them, the Lord your God will keep with you the covenant and the steadfast love which He swore to your fathers.

And He will love you, bless you, and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your body and the fruit of your land, your grain, your new wine, and your oil, the increase of your cattle and the young of your flock in the land which He swore to your fathers to give you.

You shall be blessed above all peoples; there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle.

And the Lord will take away from you all sickness, and none of the evil diseases of Egypt which you knew will He put upon you, but will lay them upon all who hate you.

And you shall consume all the peoples whom the Lord your God will give over to you; your eye shall not pity them, neither shall you serve their gods, for that would be a snare to you.

If you say in your [minds and] hearts, These nations are greater than we are; how can we dispossess them?

You shall not be afraid of them, but remember [earnestly] what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt,

The great trials which your eyes saw, the signs, the wonders, the mighty hand and the outstretched arm by which the Lord your God brought you out. So shall the Lord your God do to all the people of whom you are afraid.

Moreover, the Lord your God will send the hornet among them until those who are left and hide themselves from you are destroyed.

You shall not dread them, for the Lord your God is among you, a mighty and terrible God.

And the Lord your God will clear out those nations before you, little by little; you may not consume them quickly, lest the beasts of the field increase among you.

But the Lord your God will give them over to you and will confuse them with a mighty panic until they are destroyed.

And He will give their kings into your hand, and you shall make their name perish from under the heavens; there shall no man be able to stand before you, until you have destroyed them.

The graven images of their gods you shall burn with fire. You shall not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it for yourselves, lest you be ensnared by it, for it is an abomination to the Lord your God.

Neither shall you bring an abomination (an idol) into your house, lest you become an accursed thing like it; but you shall utterly detest and abhor it, for it is an accursed thing. 

Deuteronomy 7:1-27  Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation

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I want to show you the most insidious deception that is leading Christians into idolatry—even right now.

To do that, I want you to think of the story of the golden calf at Mount Sinai. If you remember, God had just saved Israel from Egypt through many powerful miracles and had led them through the wilderness to Mount Sinai. He spoke His commands to them, but they all shrank back and insisted that Moses go up the mountain to talk to God alone.

While Moses is gone, the people lose patience. They go to Moses’s brother, Aaron, and demand that he make them gods to lead them into the Promised Land. Now, the word they used for “gods” is Elohim, which is used in the Old Testament to refer to both pagan gods and the true God, so we don’t really know who they are talking about yet.

Aaron bows to their demands, fashions a golden statue of a calf, and they say, “This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt” (Ex. 32:4b). We still don’t know which God they’re talking about, but Aaron makes it clear right away.

He says, “Tomorrow will be a feast to the Lord” (Ex. 32:5b). Now when it says, “Lord,” what’s written there is the name, “Yahweh,” the name of God. Now we know who they are talking about.

Here’s what’s going on: They are declaring, “Yahweh is our God. Yahweh saved us from Egypt. Yahweh is our Lord,” yet they are worshiping an idol. We must see this warning, because if they could have all the right declarations while still worshiping an idol, we can too.

In fact, many Christians do this every day. They declare, “Jesus is Lord,” but they don’t follow Jesus. Just as Israel said they worshiped Yahweh, but followed their desires instead of God’s declared will, many Christians pick and choose which passages of Scripture they want to follow and ignore the rest that challenge them.

This is creating a knockoff Jesus—an idol. It is not worshipping Jesus in truth.

The question we must ask is, how can we know we are worshiping the true Jesus, not a knockoff Jesus?

Scripture Reading:

  • Exodus 32:1–10
  • 2 Corinthians 11:2–4

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