They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger. They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not. Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee. And when the Lord saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters.(Deuteronomy 32:16-19)
Man was made to worship, we were created with a need to adore something greater than we are, to open up our souls, and to bare the inner man to someone above us, who is Holy, True and good; ie God. The highest good is the glory of God, to love and to acknowledge Him is why we are here.
We become like that which we worship. As we worshipfully acknowledge and behold Him, we are conformed to His image in the soul, we become holy, good, true, and so do our desires, thoughts,wills and emotions.
Moses predicted that Israel would turn from the Worship of the only true God, and give themselves over to the worship of idols.
…They moved Him to jealousy with strange gods, With abominations provoked they Him to Anger…
First of all God is a jealous God, and His jealousy is Holy and good. He is Jealous of our hearts and affections, in the sense that a husband or wife would be jealous to preserve a legitimate marriage/family.
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.( Exodus 20:4-6)
Notice that the second commandment is about loving or hating God.
Man’s hearts were made exclusively to put all absolute faith, hope, Love, and adoration in the only one worthy of such absolute devotion, God himself. TO Love God is to love goodness, truth and beauty. To not love God is to hate Him. One cannot be indifferent about God.
To hate God is to hate goodness, truth, beauty and justice. One cannot hate God and love these virtues. To turn from God is to turn also from these very virtues.
After bringing them out of bondage in Egypt, God made a covenant in the wilderness with Israel. The giving of the Law of God was a marriage, complete with a Canopy (The glory cloud), vows and promises. Israel was to love Him exclusively, there was to be no ‘Pantheon’ of ‘gods’ of which Jahweh was but the chief God.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.(Deuteronomy 6:4-5)
For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.(Isaiah 54:5)
Thus Idolatry is disloyalty, and faithlessness, just as Adultery would be, in a marriage.
What were the nature of these “idols’ which Moses predicted Israel would giver herself over to? According to Deuteronomy 32:16, They were
* “Strange gods” , that is foreign, with the thought of alien, without affinity and without sympathy. (To be contrasted with JAHWEH who is infinite in his compassion and tender mercies).
* “Abominations”- Because the worship of Ashteroth, Molech, and Baal among others, often involved cruel orgies, human sacrifice of the most helpless(Babies), homosexual rites, temple prostitutes and the deepest debasement of the worshippers.
Worshipping the LORD of the Bible elevates men, makes them aspire to holier, higher and nobler sentiments, we want to become more like Jesus! Men become what they worship.True worship tenderizes the hard heart, and constantly awakens holy desires and affections.
What happens to men and women who worship Moloch?
We need not look far, for in our own generation, millions in the west have done just what Moses predicted Jeshuran would do, they have forsaken the Judeo Christian concept of God, and embraced strange and abominable gods such as Moloch( Abortion), Baal and Ashteroth (pornography, Sexuality divorced from context of marriage).
Such worship has rendered millions of people as the Apostle Paul predicted in 2 Timothy 3:1-5
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.(2 Timothy 3:1-5)
But the description of idolatry given by Moses in His prediction goes beyond the fact that the idols are foreign and abominable.
* Idols are demons- (Shediim) “They sacrificed to demons Which were no God, to gods which they knew not, to new gods that came up of late, which your fathers dreaded not..”
The real power behind the worship of other gods, is demonic. Therefore Idolatry is trafficking with the enemy of God and the enemy of humanity. False worship is spiritual intercourse with Evil itself. All false gods or anything spiritual which isn’t Biblical, is demonic. The New Testament affirms this,
But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.(I Corinthians 10:20)
So also the Psalms,
And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them. Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils, And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood.(Psalms 106:36-38)
This is why there can be no interfaith ecumenism, which is one of the modern forms of idolatry. How can light fellowship with darkness or Christ with Belial?
Moses predicted that the power of the idolatry which would constantly enslave Israel would be fear. When Moses said, “…gods which your fathers dreaded not…”, he used a word that is never used in connection with the “fear of the Lord”.
The word rendered dreaded, se’arum, means to shudder , or to be horrified.
The true “Fear of the Lord” is clean, it is a filial reverence, an honoring and treating the LORD and His Word as profound or ‘heavy’, and leads to worship and adoration which is elevating.
Idols are horrifying and rule by sheer terror. Those who fear the LORD need not fear demons, nor false gods such as idols.
But those who are enslaved in a system of animism, Ancestor worship, or Allah worship or any other form of idolatry or the occult live in constant fear, and their world is a haunted and tormented world of fear and superstition. Behind these gods are demons, and such as in the case of Islam, they demand bloody, murderous sacrifices of their worshippers.
The only way to be “free indeed”and to be allowed to be fully human, is to return in humility to worship the true God.