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You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods … 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. You shall not worship the Lord your God with such things. (Deuteronomy 12:2-4)

There are specific commands given to Israel that have special relevance to the land of Israel. For instance, this chapter begins with the instruction to observe the aforementioned commands “in the land,” in fact, it is only required of them when they are in the land of Canaan. That is not to say that the principles won’t work outside of the land but does make clear that the land of their inheritance was the place where God would dwell in their midst. Therefore, certain things were not to be permitted if they desired for His Presence to remain.

In that vein of thought, the people were told to “utterly destroy” all of the idols, the altars and sacred pillars dedicated to the nothing gods. Moreover, they were to make sure that the very name and memory of these false gods were obliterated to the point that the asherah trees were not merely cut down, but dug up by the roots. This notion connects us to the statement made by John the Baptist: “Even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (Matthew 3:10).

Again, the command to destroy these idols is given in regard to the land of Israel but that doesn’t mean the Presence of the Almighty must be limited to the Holy Land. In other words, I desire that He dwell among the people here in the U.S. — I’m sure you feel the same wherever you live. The nothing gods and the demons they are connected to will take up residence anywhere they can, which is to say, in areas where the people of God do not assert their authority. (By the way, have you ever noticed that pagans in America tend to congregate in mountainous or scenic areas?)

What does this say to us today? Living in the U.S., we would be arrested if we tried to execute this command in this day and time. Still, within our sphere of influence — our home, our congregation and even in other areas of life — we have been given the authority to stamp out and destroy anything that suggests these gods have any authority or validity. Moreover, we must be careful not to allow the ways of the nations to influence how we worship the One True God — “You shall not worship the LORD with such things.”

In short, in our personal life, in our home and in our congregations, we must always acknowledge and honor His authority, not allowing for anything to take His place in our heart. May anything or anyone that is seated upon the throne of our heart, besides Him, be cast down and it’s memory erased that we may serve the Living God with all of our heart.

Blessings and Shalom,  




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