What do you imagine is the worst, the most vile act a person can commit against the Lord? What sin does He hate more than any other sin? Is it murder? Or perhaps witchcraft? What about pride? No, although those sins are on His “list,” He detests idolatry. Idolatry is at the core of nearly any sin you could think of. To take someone’s life is to make yourself god. Practicing witchcraft or any other religion is idolatry. Pride makes you refuse to submit to the Lord or to anyone else and you usurp The Lordship of Christ to make yourself regent. Idolatry is what the Lord hates more than any other thing. What is the great commandment? When Jesus was asked, He answered,
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40).
What are the first five of the Ten Commandments?
“‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
“‘You shall have no other gods before me.
“‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image…
“‘You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain…
“‘Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,” (Deuteronomy 5:6-15).
All these commandments are about loving the Lord with your whole being and against idolatry. The second five are about loving other people with the same consideration you want for yourself. I believe there is only one thing, the Lord hates more than idolatry, and that is leading others to commit that sin of sins. Verses 1-5 read,
“If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him. 5 But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has taught rebellion against the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of slavery, to make you leave the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.”
False prophets can be sly. They make their words sound good, similar to God’s Word but not quite. If someone doesn’t know The Lord well enough to recognize His voice they can be carried off by false prophecies and visions that came from the prince of the power of the air and not from The Lord. True prophecy from the Lord leads to the Lord, not away from Him. Moses warned the people to cling to The Lord and His commandments to obey God’s voice. He said that the false prophet had to be put to death.
In today’s world, we can’t put false prophets to death. But we can expel them from our midst and as the body of Christ we can stand together against their idolatrous deceptive words. We are not to even engage with false prophets, false teachers, or people proclaiming anything other than the True Gospel of Jesus Christ. 2 John 1:9-11 reads,
“Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, 11 for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.”
Whatever we do, we do not let them affect us or influence others. Even people we love dearly can be swayed to follow strange practices, religions, and other idolatry. Verses 6-11 say,
“If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter or the wife you embrace or your friend who is as your own soul entices you secretly, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which neither you nor your fathers have known, 7 some of the gods of the peoples who are around you, whether near you or far off from you, from the one end of the earth to the other, 8 you shall not yield to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him, nor shall you conceal him. 9 But you shall kill him. Your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. 10 You shall stone him to death with stones, because he sought to draw you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 11 And all Israel shall hear and fear and never again do any such wickedness as this among you.”
Not only does Moses say the enticer is to be put to death, but that you ought to be who brings his crime to light and that you should throw the first stone! If you keep his sin quiet, if you try and empathize with him, you will let him think you agree and you will give him the chance to persuade you and others to idolatry. Who do you love more, yourself, your friend, or The Lord your God? Of course we don’t stone people today and we can’t kill someone for trying to get us to check out Mormonism or Buddhism, but we can make the church aware, cut off contact with them, and refuse to let them beguile anyone else into false religions.
People try and say that love means tolerance. They try and say Jesus would be gentle against false religions and people keeping anyone away from truth. That is a lie. True love does not let people walk to their deaths without a warning. True Love does not say, “Peace, to each his own.” Jesus, the epitome of genuine love, called the Pharisees vipers and hypocrites (Matthew 12:34, Matthew 15:7). He turned over the tables of the merchants who turned the Temple into a den of thieves (Matthew 21:12-13). In Matthew 10:34-39 Jesus said,
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person's enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
The people telling you Jesus would put a ‘COEXIST’ sticker on His bumper, do not know Him, they know themselves as lord and give the True Lord their own idealized character. They say, “My god would never call a church leader a lying snake!” Well, guess what, the One True God did and does!”
Idolatry starts with one person whispering to another and before long it spreads to the church and then the city. Do you imagine that the city of Sodom just happened to be evil? No, it became evil because no one would stand up for The Lord, for good, or for the Truth. Verses 12-18 read,
“If you hear in one of your cities, which the Lord your God is giving you to dwell there, 13 that certain worthless fellows have gone out among you and have drawn away the inhabitants of their city, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which you have not known, 14 then you shall inquire and make search and ask diligently. And behold, if it be true and certain that such an abomination has been done among you, 15 you shall surely put the inhabitants of that city to the sword, devoting it to destruction, all who are in it and its cattle, with the edge of the sword. 16 You shall gather all its spoil into the midst of its open square and burn the city and all its spoil with fire, as a whole burnt offering to the Lord your God. It shall be a heap forever. It shall not be built again.17 None of the devoted things shall stick to your hand, that the Lord may turn from the fierceness of his anger and show you mercy and have compassion on you and multiply you, as he swore to your fathers, 18 if you obey the voice of the Lord your God, keeping all his commandments that I am commanding you today, and doing what is right in the sight of the Lord your God.”
We do not just assume rumors are true, we do our due diligence and find out if it’s true. If it is, then we take action. Once again, today we can’t take our church and sack a city for God, but we can bring them the Gospel of Peace and then if they refuse to hear it, have nothing to do with them. We do not even let the dust from thier streets sully our shoes. Jesus explained it this way in Matthew 10:11-15,
“And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it and stay there until you depart. 12 As you enter the house, greet it. 13 And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. 15 Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.”
Idolatry is a devious evil. Tolerating it is dangerous. Though you may be discerning enough to recognize false prophets, lying friends, or idolatrous cities and religions others might not be. That trip to the psychic, especially the one with the ichthus (fish symbol) is treacherous and can easily lead to death. Do not go along for the ride and do not let anyone else go along without a warning. Is it really love to let people blindly walk away from the Lord toward their own destruction?