Monday, September 5, 2011

Teach Our Children

I think if I weren’t a Christian – if Christianity weren’t true – I’d probably be a neo-pagan of some sort. I love fantasy and there is some beauty in the way the pagans I know love the mysteries of the earth. I like fairies and unicorns and pots of gold at the feet of rainbows.

By God’s grace, I know those things are only stories and there is no truth in them. But I can see why some people worship them.

Moses’ last words to the people of Israel were a warning not to worship other gods. He had just sung a song to them about God’s anger over their idolatry. Now he told them to take the warning to heart.

In verses 17 & 18 he quotes God talking about His people:

They offered sacrifices to demons, which are not God,
      to gods they had not known before,
   to new gods only recently arrived,
      to gods their ancestors had never feared.
 You neglected the Rock who had fathered you;
      you forgot the God who had given you birth.

Sometimes Satan doesn’t hide and people blatantly worship his things. He can make ugly things pretty attractive. They can also be addicting and can claim hearts, even though they are false and are not God. But I think the “new gods they had not known before” are a bigger problem in our culture. There is always something new that people get excited about. There are books about people seeing into heaven. And there’s a huge interest in angels. Or what about the Mayan calendar that people claim predicts the end of the world in 2012. Some of the old standbys are probably still around too, like the writings of Nostradamus and New Age belief in the power of crystals. Some people follow brand new gods, like Dianetics, which was made up by a science fiction writer.

Now I’m pretty skeptical about all those things, even though I love to read books about made up worlds. I’m grounded in scripture and I can tell the difference between fantasy and reality. But Moses’ warning was not only to the adult Israelites. He told them to pass the warning on as a command to their children so they would obey every word.

I think today’s children are in more danger from this temptation to idolatry than I was as a child. The media blasts them with all kinds of things that appear attractive. No matter what their interests or personalities, there is something out there that will attract them.

It’s our job as parents, grandparents and loving adults to not only teach them about God, but to warn them to follow God’s commands and not to worship idols. This is not something we can take lightly. This is life.

God promised them long life in the land He had given them. I want the children I know, especially my grandchildren, to have long lives in God’s Kingdom. So I need to take this warning to heart.

These are not empty words that don’t apply to me; they are the life of our children.

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