Friday, February 23, 2018

No Deals, No Compromises – The Kingdom Curriculum VI (4)

Thursday, July 23, 2009, 0:01
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No Deals, No Compromises

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image…” Exodus 20:4; Deuteronomy 5:8

“When My angel goes before you and brings to the Amorites and the Hittites and the Perizzites and the Canaanites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, and I blot them out, you shall not bow down to their gods nor serve them, nor do as they do, but you shall utterly overthrow them and break their pillars in pieces…You shall make no covenant with them and their gods…” Exodus 23:23, 24, 32

Make no compromises with pagan practice.

Covenant-making in ancient Israel involved a solemn ceremony, complete with dramatic depictions, oaths, and a meal. Especially in the Old Testament, we often find the people of God making covenant with Him, especially at the onset of seasons of revival. These are all renewals of the Abrahamic covenant, which God Himself renewed–and extended–at Sinai, and again with David.  So making covenant was a good thing. It gave the people an opportunity to review their history, remind themselves of God’s grace, and commit themselves afresh to serve Him.

But there was to be no covenant-making with paganism. In the dramas, declarations, celebrations, and duties of Israel’s covenant with God, paganism was to be altogether omitted. God prescribed the ceremonies, and even the words that should be used in taking vows to and worshiping Him. He gave the nation everything they needed in order to worship Him acceptably. Israel was not to share the worship they owed to God with any pagan deities, and they were not to worship Him using forms, rituals, words, or objects left over from pagan ways. There were to be no compromises with pagan religion. Period.

I wonder if, in our passion to be contemporary and relevant in worship, we don’t cross this line sometimes. Certainly there’s always a place for singing “new songs to the Lord”; but when worship is overtaken and overwhelmed by instruments, vocalists, and beats imported from the unbelieving culture around us–typically, at the expense of more traditional worship forms–we may be getting close to transgressing the second commandment. Or when preaching as it has traditionally been practiced begins to resemble a late night monologue more than a word from the Lord, it may be time to review what we’re doing. And even when we substitute for the work of shepherding the flock and equipping the saints for ministry programs whose strongest selling point is that they help us meet like-minded people or deal with immediate personal concerns, then it seems to me we have begun to try to worship and serve God more like the unbelieving world around us serves its own false deities and practices its own doomed religion. Have we entered into covenants with unbelieving forms, practices, priorities, and protocols? The only way to know is to test everything we’re doing by everything God has taught us in His Word concerning how we must worship and serve Him.

The way to begin to love God’s Law is to spend time reading and meditating on it. Order your copy of The Law of God today by going to, clicking on Publications, then clicking Waxed Tablet.

In the Gates is a devotional series on the Law of God by Rev. T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is editor of the Worldview Church. He serves as dean of the Centurions Program of the Wilberforce Forum and principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He is the author or editor of twenty books, and has contributed chapters to four others. His essays, reviews, articles, papers, and poetry have appeared in dozens of national and international journals, and on a wide range of websites. His most recent books are The Ailbe Psalter and The Ground for Christian Ethics (Waxed Tablet).

Scripture quotations in this article are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, (c) copyright 2001,2007 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Editor’s note: The use of a translation other than the Authorised Version in an article does not constitute an endorsement in whole or in part by The Christian Observer.

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