Israel’s Dangerous Game (11-19-17)

A popular concept that has spread significantly in modern society is the philosophy of coexistence between all different religions. Its intention is to promote peace by ceasing religious disputes among people in different societies. The argument provided by proponents of this movement is that God is present in all places of worship, thus it does not matter how you worship Him. The assumption being made by them is that God approves and accepts every form of worship. Although the intention may appear to be benevolent, its reality is much more destructive and dangerous. What today is being labeled as “coexistence,” in actuality is syncretism; a poisonous ideology that invaded Israel’s mind during their journey from Egypt to the Promised Land. Syncretism is the combination of different forms of belief or practice (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary). Advocates of religious coexistence will be quick to point out that they are not trying to fuse the religions together, but simply seeking for all of them to live in peace with one another. However, it is valuable to note that the justification for this idea in actuality promotes religious fusing, since it has as its heart that God is in all religions. Indisputably, what this movement truly does is go against everything the Holy Spirit has inspired in the sacred pages of the Bible. Religious syncretism is an old tactic that has been executed by Satan several times against the chosen people of God. Due to this constant threat, the apostle Paul brings to the memory of the Corinthians when this merciless assault took place at Sinai. He explains that “with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, ‘The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play” (1st Corinthians 10:5-7, emphasis added). The pericope cited by the apostle Paul is the description provided by Moses as he wrote of Israel reverting to idolatry, via the golden calf (Exodus 32:1-7). Holy Writ manifests that the people of Israel “saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain” and used this as an excuse to tell Aaron “come, make us gods that shall go before us” (Exodus 32:1-2). Observe how quickly they forgot that forty days prior they “answered with one voice and said, ‘All the words which the Lord has said we will do” (Exodus 24:3, emphasis added). Among those “words” spoken to them were “You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them” (Exodus 20:3-5a, emphasis added). Furthermore, Jehovah God explicitly commanded them “you shall not make anything to be with Me- gods of silver or gods of gold you shall not make for yourselves” (Exodus 20:23, emphasis added). There is no question that these commandments given by Jehovah God in regards to idols were neither grievous nor incomprehensible. For this reason, the Israelites could not shield their heinous betrayal with ignorance or confusion. Israel did not have reason to “say before the messenger of God that it was an error” when they committed themselves to the statues set forth by Jehovah (Ecclesiastes 5:6b). It is also important to know that Moses did not leave the people without a leader in his absence; this would have been reckless and negligent on his behalf. Inspired Scripture confirms that “Moses arose with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up to the mountain of God. And he said to the elders, ‘Wait here for us until we come back to you. Indeed, Aaron and Hur are with you. If any man has a difficulty, let him go to them” (Exodus 24:13-14, emphasis added). Since they fully comprehended the commandments given to them by Jehovah God, and were not left without guidance, why would Moses’ absence and unknown whereabouts prompt the Israelites to demand from Aaron a god? The answer provided by Holy Scripture is because they succumbed to self-indulgence. This is demonstrated by Paul when he quotes that Israel “rose up to play” (1st Corinthians 10:7, Exodus 32:6). History suggest that Aaron’s selection of a calf as the carved image was not accidental nor coincidental. History reveals that cattle were very commonly used by ancient eastern cultures to represent their deities. This custom was also practiced by the people of Egypt; the land Israel had just been freed from. It was also customary for the Egyptians to honor their gods by having great feasts where the people indulged in drinking and revelry that ultimately led to orgies. The Bible reveals that when Moses returned from Mount Sinai, “he saw the calf and dancing” and “that the people were unrestrained (for Aaron had not restrained them, to their shame among their enemies)” (Exodus 32:19, 25). Truly, the memory of Egypt’s licentious feasts were deeply impregnated in the minds of the Israelites. Their eagerness to participate in such a feast is highlighted when Scripture reveals that “they rose early” to celebrate it (Exodus 32:6a). Despite all the similarities to an Egyptian idol-worship, Aaron deceived himself to believe that by proclaiming “Tomorrow is a feast to the Lord,” it would be accepted by Jehovah God (Exodus 32:5b, emphasis added). He failed to remember that “I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God and therefore absolutely does not share His worship with false idols (Exodus 20:5). Undeniably, the Lord’s worship does not reside in will-worship or in an imitation of a worship meant for false idols. These forms of worship, like the “proclamation” made by Aaron, are nothing more than clever ploys attempting to veil self-indulgence. It is wise to notice that what the Israelites were attempting to do is have the best of both worlds. Hence, the clear and present danger of a syncretistic adoration is to use the name of God as a means to justify self-indulgence. What those who promote religious coexistence fail to understand is that true worship, approved by God, must begin with obedience; anything else is an abomination to Him (1st Samuel 15:22, Proverbs 15:8).

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