Friday, September 9, 2016

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

One True God and People of other Faith

Joseph Kurian Ph. D
Carmel MTC, Boston MA 
13 You must be blameless before the Lord your God.
Imagine the Israelites were about to enter the Promised Land, after 40 years of life in the wilderness. Moses offers an advice to them in verses 9-11. He forbids them to follow some detestable practices of the local community. The list includes but is not limited to child sacrifice, divination (the art of telling the future), sorcery (the art of controlling evil spirits), omen interpretation, witchcraft, spell casting, Medium (calling the spirit of the dead) etc. Examples of divination are astrology, horoscope, palmistry, soothsaying, oracles, wizards, black magic, taboo, hoodoo, devilry, tarot cards, exorcism, witchcraft etc.  There is a common characteristic among all these practices, namely deception. Deception and ignorance leads to superstition and worship of other Gods. In verse 12 we read: “Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord; because of these same detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you”.

Throughout the Bible there is explicit narration of these practices. In 2 Kings 21:6 we read, “And he burned his son as an offering and used fortune-telling and omens and dealt with mediums and with necromancers.  He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger”. Exodus 7:11-12, 11 “Pharaoh then summoned wise men and sorcerers, and the Egyptian magicians also did the same things by their secret arts:” 12 “Each one threw down his staff and it became a snake. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs”. Acts16:16-18, 'Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved”. She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her! At that moment the spirit left her’.

As far as the Israelites are concerned, Moses wants: 13 “You must be blameless before the Lord your God”. In order to be blameless before the Lord one must keep away from all such evil. But in modern times, it is inevitable for us to live among people of all faiths.  Are we imitating or promoting these detestable practices? We read in 2 Corinthians 5:17, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone the new is here!  But we must not lose our focus. Paul advises us in Romans 12: 16 “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited”. Our ultimate goal must be to lead a Christ like life.


PRAYER


Heavenly Father, we live in a time when people of other faith have already become part of our family, or we are members of their family. Through Your divine grace guide us to meet the challenges of the times so that we will be blameless before Your Lordship. In Jesus name we pray. Amen

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
If we are forced to dissociate with someone, it should be only as a last resort, and not as the first option!