Other Gods – Warnings and Reminders

Other Gods – Warnings and Reminders [TRANSCRIPT]

Deut. 11:16 commands,
Beware that your hearts are not easily deceived, and that you do not turn away and serve other gods, and worship them.

Deut. 32:16-17 tells us,
They made Him jealous with strange gods; With abominations they provoked Him to anger. 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 know.

Deut. 7:4 warns,
For they will turn your sons away from following Me, and they will serve other gods; then the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you and He will quickly destroy you.

Deut. 8:19 issues another warning,
And it shall come about, if you ever forget the LORD your God and follow other gods and serve and worship them, I testify against you today that you will certainly perish.

Likewise in Jer. 22:8-9,
Many nations will pass by this city; and they will say to one another, ‘Why has the LORD done this to this great city?’ Then they will answer, ‘Because they abandoned the covenant of the LORD their God and bowed down to other gods and served them.’”

Exo. 22:20 also warns,
He who sacrifices to any god, other than to the LORD alone, shall be utterly destroyed.

Isa 40:25 declares,
To whom then will you compare Me That I would be his equal?” says the Holy One.

Isa. 45:22 says,
Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other.

Isa. 46:9 also says,
Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me,

Every family is like a culture unto itself. There are certain family sayings and history events that define it. There’s also in every family, what I call “house rules.” These were the stated and sometimes unstated guidelines for life and conduct. I don’t know about your family, but among the house rules were certain ones that you just didn’t cross. All of us knew that if we did, there would be consequences. In the same way, cultures, nations and societies in relation to God, there are house rules. And likewise, there are consequences if they are forgotten or violated. Last week we examined the main thing, which is God. He alone is God. But, what happens when this rule is forgotten, ignored or violated? Let’s look at that.

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God, as the LORD God and Creator, has laid out His “house rules” in His Word. The enemy in his part and his partners are in rebellion against God. As we’ve looked at as we’ve looked at the deception of the enemy, we’ve seen the pattern of his attack against God and mankind. He begins by questioning God’s Word thus creating doubt concerning the truth and validity of God’s Word. He then presents an alternative as a substitute. His purpose is to separate mankind from God.

Today, I want to look at this second aspect of the Deceiver’s tactic, that is, the introduction of a substitute. Now, last week we looked at how God made it clear that He was to be our first and foremost consideration. We are to love the Lord God with all that we are. He alone is to have our supreme allegiance. He alone is worthy of our worship.

So, it shouldn’t surprise us that this would become an area in which the Devil would be at work. God warns His people concerning the deception of abandoning the true God. In Deut. 11:16 He says, “Beware that your hearts are not easily deceived, and that you do not turn away and serve other gods, and worship them.

Other Gods? Now, that may seem a contradiction in light of the fact that He declares that He is the only God. But remember, the Devil’s at work. And one of the substitutes that the enemy has consistently persisted on in deceiving mankind was to introduce alternative gods. Knowing this, God warns His people not to be deceived. He points out the reality of other gods.

Now, the obvious next question then arises. What is the nature of these other gods? Well, thankfully, God reveals this in His Word. We know that the Devil desires worship. The boastful claim in his rebellion was to have the place that belongs to God alone. He desires to be seen in equal footing as the LORD God. Also, it’s not hard to surmise that his fellow rebels share in that desire for worshipful recognition. That’s exactly what we see revealed in Scripture.

In Deuteronomy God reveals how the people of Israel fell prey to this aspect of the enemy’s deceptive work. In Deuteronomy 32:16-17 it says,
They made Him jealous with strange gods; With abominations they provoked Him to anger. 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 know.

In this passage God identifies the true nature of these strange gods. It says “they sacrificed to demons.” The word translated demons is the word shedum. It’s only used one other time in the Old Testament making it clear who is behind the other gods.

The other instance we see is used in Psalm 106:35-37.
But they got involved 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,

Here we see the deceptive nature of the enemy clearly exposed. They desire to snare and enslave those they deceive. They demand sacrifices of the children as a wicked destruction of what God commands is to guard and protect.

We should also understand that these gods change names. But they are merely disguises of the same evil deceivers. Judges 3:7 says,
So, the sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and they forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth.

Now, the designation of Baal can be deceiving. The word can easily be translated “lord.” Local areas had their Baals. For instance, there was Baal Hadad, Baal Hermon, Baal Tamar, Baal Peor, Baal Zephon, Baal-berith, Baal-zebub (God of Ekron). Today we call that rebranding. But it’s all the same enterprise behind the whole scam.

We should not make the mistake or listen to some anthropologist explain away these other gods. Some claim for instance that these gods are mere inventions of primitive man in order to deal with their harsh environment. Like one writer said it this way speaking of such a skeptic.

The Skeptic says: I don’t believe in God because I’m not afraid of the darkness.

The Believer on the other hand says: I believe in God because I’m not afraid of the Light.

The enemy and his demons have consistently worked to deceive and move people away from the Light of the true God. Instead, they lead people to follow other gods which in fact are demons in disguise. Even Paul pointed this out concerning the nature behind these other gods of his age. In 1 Cor. 10:20 he says,
No, but I say that things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become partners with demons.

It’s important to understand this point. False religions and their false gods are not merely a cultural or historical phenomena. The other gods are not just a selection option among sovereign deities like a choice of ice cream flavors. “I like this god so I’ll choose him.” No. There is a True God and the other gods originate from demonic sources. Remember, truth is not a democracy. We must understand that the actuality of demonic deception in this area. It is real and it is true. And this demonic origin means that it is wicked and it is destructive.

Knowing the nature of the other gods, the Lord has consistently warned of the danger of following such deception. In Exodus 22:20 God made it very clear. “He who sacrifices to any god, other than to the LORD alone, shall be utterly destroyed.” To follow other gods puts a person on the wrong side of the One True God. It will not end well for those who follow the other gods.

The Bible records the story of the people of Israel and His dealing with them. This aspect of following other gods is recorded as a cautionary tale in this matter. In Deut. 7:4 God predicted it.
For they will turn your sons away from following Me, and they will serve other gods; then the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you and He will quickly destroy you.

Deut. 8:19 He warns them,
And it shall come about, if you ever forget the LORD your God and follow other gods and serve and worship them, I testify against you today that you will certainly perish.
 
In both of these passages God warns the people that if they were to follow these other gods it would lead to destruction. He told them that He would “destroy them.” He warned them that such a path would lead them to where they would “perish.”

Well, guess what? That’s exactly where it led for the people of Israel. This path of following the other gods took them down the road to judgment and destruction. They were taken away into exile and captivity. And God made it clear as to the reason for God’s judgment. In His Word in 2 Chronicles 7:22 it lays it out.
And they will say, ‘Because they abandoned the LORD, the God of their fathers, who brought them from the land of Egypt, and they adopted other gods, and worshiped and served them; therefore, He has brought all this adversity on them.’”

God wanted to point out and make it clear through the prophet. And He stated it in Jeremiah 22:8-9.
Many nations will pass by this city; and they will say to one another, ‘Why has the LORD done this to this great city?’ Then they will answer, ‘Because they abandoned the covenant of the LORD their God and bowed down to other gods and served them.’

It certainly was clear to the people of Israel. The evil of idolatry become a part of the national psyche. They never forgot this. It was one of the reasons for the strong objections that the Jews had in Jesus’ claim for divinity. Forevermore, the sin of idolatry is been burned into the minds of the Jewish people even to this day.

Now, I can almost hear some of you saying. “Well, that was then. We don’t have open idol worship around us. That’s in those other places that still do that sort of thing.” Not so fast. Remember the origins of the gods? What were they? Guess what the enticements the gods used to snare the people into their grasp?

Regardless of any rebranding of the gods, the incentives like the origins of the gods shared similarities. The ancient gods knew what sold back then just like they know now. The gods promised some basic and time-tested offers. The gods enticed in the areas of prosperity, fleshly desires and power. Sacrifice to the Baals and he promised success. Follow the god Eros and you can indulge your greatest fleshly cravings. Be a loyal follower of the gods and you will gain power, fame, glory and maybe even divinity. Give them what they want and they will reciprocate. But know that it will cost you your soul as you enter the judgment with demons.

I challenge you to investigate for this yourself and see. The gods are very present in our world and society. The gods are again requiring the sacrifice of children at their altars. The gods are enticing with allurements that target the basest of mankind’s corrupt desires. The foundations of a nation that once looked to divine guidance and direction have been altered. God is not only ignored; but forces are actively working to evict His very presence at every level. We must understand what is behind all of this. The liberation from God is a snare directly into the hands of enemies.

This is not a new story. Even before this nation was founded there were those who spoke to these kinds of dangers that we’ve looked at. In 1630 a Puritan lawyer who helped found the Massachusetts Bay Colony, named John Winthrop wrote these words in a sermon.
But if our hearts shall turn away, so that we will not obey, but shall be seduced, and we worship and serve other Gods, our pleasure and profits, and serve them; it is proposed unto you this day, we shall surely perish out of this good land…

I understand that there are events and flows in history to which we have limited control. As a follow of Christ this brings several things to mind in response. One of course is not to fear. Our trust is in the Living God. We are to bear witness against the gods and point to the True and the Living God and His savior Jesus Christ.

We must recognize the false gods and not fall prey to their snares. We must remind ourselves of what He has declared. Remember and memorize Isaiah 40:25 as a reminder of whom we serve. “To whom then will you compare Me That I would be his equal? declares the Holy One.” We follow and serve the One True God.

Our hope and salvation is in the One and True God. Isaiah 45:22 declares this admonition, “Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other.

The other gods are false. His work and His Word testify to Him. Isaiah 46:9 declares, “Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me,

The Living God has not left us in the dark. 1 John 2:16-17 says,
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God continues to live forever.

Recognition of the enemy and the Truth puts everything into perspective. The enemy may rebrand his identity and methods. But his methods and identity is recognizable. God has declared where this story is going and how it will end.

We are those who confess faith in the One True and Living God. And we will continue to follow and obey Him. The Lord has promised to be with us regardless of the times. For who is like Him? No one.

He is God and there is no other.
That is the truth. And the Truth Matters.

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