Russell and Duenes

The Lord Your God Has Not Allowed You To Do So

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“[Y]ou shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations.”  ~ Deut. 18:9

God told the Israelites that they were to keep themselves from the “detestable” practices of the Canaanite nations whom they were dispossessing from the promised land. Yet I find the list of detestable practices interesting, for they are not what I would expect.

God says His people should avoid causing their sons and daughters to “pass through the fire.” I don’t know what this practice was about, but my guess is that it had to do with some pagan religious ritual. The Israelites were also told to keep away from divination, witchcraft, those interpret omens, sorcerers, spell-casters, mediums, spiritists and those who call up the dead.

These practices could not have been the only godless activities in which the Canaanites engaged, so what made these stand out such that God would mention them in particular? I don’t know the answer for sure, though in turning to spiritists and mediums there is obviously an element of trusting in spiritual authorities and practices that have nothing to do with the One, True God. This is idolatry.

Further, it points to the reality of spiritual world. God would not tell His people to stay away from something that was innocuous, harmless or fanciful. Our modern Western culture has an interesting relationship with the occult. While we may tend to think of ourselves as “rational” people who don’t give any credence to unseen spiritual realities, we still see a great fascination with it. My wife pointed out the proliferation of “paranormal” TV shows (e.g., Constantine on NBC), and much popular culture appears open to, and even laudatory of, occultic practices. It shows up regularly in our movies, video games, board games and books.

Yet God tells His people that He will “raise up a prophet like [Moses] from among your countrymen.” (Deut. 18:15). The voice of this God-appointed prophet is the one to whom the people are to listen. This is the voice of none-other-than Jesus Christ. Thus, Jesus alone is our source of knowledge and truth. We are to listen only to the words of His mouth. In him only “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Col. 2:3). Let us listen, then, only to His voice, and all voices consistent with His truth.



Written by Michael Duenes

November 15, 2014 at 7:50 am

Posted in Deuteronomy, Duenes

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