You shall not worship the LORD your God with such things Deut 12:4

by Steven Chan

As the people of Israel prepared to enter the land that was promised by God to them, Moses gave them clear instructions from God with regards their conduct when they have occupied the land.

In Deut 12:3-4, Moses instructed them as follows:-

“And you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and burn their wooden images with fire; you shall cut down the carved images of their gods and destroy their names from that place. 4 You shall not worship the LORD your God with such things.”

The Bible does not teach us to go and destroy other people’s idols today. But we are not to have fellowship with the worship of idols:

“14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak as to wise men; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 17 For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread. 18 Observe Israel after the flesh: Are not those who eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? 19 What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? 20 Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons. 22 Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He? “(1 Cor 10:14-22)

We cannot worship God while at the same time partaking in the superstitions or practices of those who believe and practice idolatry such as practiced under the new age movement which is prevalent today. According to one source, “The god of the New Age is an impersonal energy force or field. Among its practices are the using of quartz crystals as a source of healing energy and Feng Shui—the practice of arranging furniture and other objects in a room or office to improve the “energy” balance.”   The Bible says in James 1:17: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights.” The New Age beliefs take one away from having faith in God as the one who provides for all our needs. When one believes that there are other sources of blessings, then our dependence upon God is diminished and redundant. Would one “cast all your care upon Him” (1 Peter 5:7) if you believe that there are other means by which you can be protected? In Prov 3:5, the Bible exhorts us to:

“5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

Brethren, we cannot worship God and at the same time partake in such idolatry. Idolatry is more than just images in place of God but also includes anything that supplants the role of God in our hearts as the one whom we revere and the source of our blessings – for example, covetousness is defined in Col 3:5 as idolatry.

According to Moses, we cannot worship God with such things (i.e. images, etc). Nothing should be used to represent God. We are not to “change the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man–and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.”(Rom 1:23). Let’s remember what faith in God implies: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”(Heb 11:6). God is the rewarder. “For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”(Matt 6:32-33)