If you’re just beginning to follow Yeshua and seek to be obedient to YHVH’s commands as given in the Torah, the thought of rooting out all idolatry in your life and home is likely very overwhelming.
First of all, as I mentioned before, we don’t even recognize that we are surrounded by idolatry each day.
Modern culture, even the Church itself, is filled with the deceiving spirits who have gone out into the entire world.
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1).
- Serpents, dragons, and other mythical creatures, recalling the serpent in the Garden of Eden
- Trees, recalling the Tree of Knowledge of Good
- and Evil, or even the Tree of Life
- Images, recalling the fact that mankind was made
- in the image of God
- Sun, moon, and stars, recalling the creation of
- Days of worship, recalling the first calendar created by YHVH
- Sacrifices, recalling the way YHVH prescribed a blood sacrifice for Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah, and all who “called on the name of YHVH”
- Towers and high places, first mentioned in the
- city of Babylon, where a tower was built that could be used to center worship around the heavenly beings (sun, moon, and stars)
- A thirst for pleasure that gratifies the flesh, beauty that gratifies the eyes, and wisdom that makes mankind feel like a god.
Let’s also review what Deuteronomy tells us about graven images:
“Take careful heed to yourselves, for you saw no form when YHVH spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, lest you act corruptly and make for yourselves a carved image in the form of any figure: the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any animal that is on the earth or the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground or the likeness of any fish that is in the water beneath the earth. And take heed, lest you lift your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun, the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven, you feel driven to worship them and serve them, which YHVH your God has given to all the peoples under the whole heaven as a heritage” (Deuteronomy 4:15-19).
I will give you some suggestions of things to watch for in your home, but I suggest gathering your family together for a time of prayer and dedication. Spend time confessing any sin or idolatry that the Spirit of God reveals to you, then commit to destroying all wickedness in your midst. Ask Him to guide you and give you wisdom and discernment through this process, plus a willing heart to obey.
“Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left” (Isaiah 30:21).
Take some time to go through your home and carefully check your possessions.
- Books – Do you have books that include magic, wizards, spells, or sorcery? Be especially careful of fairy tales and mythology.
- Music – Do you listen to music that exalts mankind or is filled with pagan references? Be careful of folk music as well as more modern choices.
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O YHVH, my strength and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).
“Let the word of Messiah dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to YHVH” (Colossians 3:16).
- Movies – As in our reading choices, we need to be especially careful about what we watch. Be especially careful of children’s movies, such as Disney.
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like” (Galatians 5:19-20).
“Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8).
- Games – From board games such as Ouija boards, to some role-playing games, to some video games, our children are targets for pagan idolatry. You may want to research the games you allow your children to play and carefully check the websites and social media they participate in.
- Decorations – The most obvious things to watch for are statues and images. Many look harmless, but the Torah is clear what YHVH thinks of them! Check also for religious symbols, jewelry, candles intended for religious or meditative purposes, and souvenirs from world travel.
- Holidays – One of the hardest things for new believers to learn is that the family holidays and traditions they have celebrated throughout their lives are filled with idolatry. Christmas and Easter are notoriously pagan, yet we associate them with warm memories and even the gospel message itself. Research these holidays, as well as various New Year’s celebrations, holidays for church saints (Valentine’s, St. Patrick’s, etc.), equinox and solstice observances, Halloween, and so on.
- Honor for the Dead – Ancestor worship is on the rise, so be careful about giving inappropriate honor to loved ones who have died. From shrines to candles and memorabilia, it is easy to slip from that to next step of praying to the dead. As we will soon learn in the Torah, even tattoos in remembrance of people should not be part of our bodies.
“You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am YHVH” (Leviticus 19:28).
- Words – Since our language comes from Babylon, the very words we speak can be filled with references to idolatry. We make careless remarks such as “Good luck” (Luck was a pagan deity) or saying “Bless you” when someone sneezes (so that they would not inhale evil spirits). Words constantly reveal the superstitions that have been passed down through the centuries. Even the names of the days of the week and the months of the year reveal deep-rooted idolatry in our culture. You will still need to communicate with unbelievers, but you should prayerfully consider beginning to learn new ways of saying things, and at the very least, discuss these things with your children!
“And in all that I have said to you, be circumspect and make no mention of the name of other gods, nor let it be heard from your mouth” (Exodus 23:13).
“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” (Deuteronomy 12:3).
- World Religions – Check your sources of information, from websites you consult to even the education you received as a child and young adult. Consider the education your own children are receiving. Have you learned the ways of secular atheism, evolution, and humanism, which is the denial of God’s existence and that He is Creator and Ruler of the Universe? How have you been influenced by Classical Greek and Roman philosophy (Neopaganism)? How has your life been affected by Roman Catholicism, Islam, Kabbalah, Buddhism, Hinduism, alternative health, new-age philosophy, yoga, transcendental meditation, and more?
“This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Master Yeshua was magnified. And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds. Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of YHVH grew mightily and prevailed” (Acts 19:17-20).
In an upcoming post, we’ll begin to learn proactive (and even fun!) ways to replace the old ways of the world around us with the beautiful ways of the Torah. It’s never wise to clean out our houses without filling them with good things to replace them.
“When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first” (Matthew 12:43-45).
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law [Torah] of YHVH, and in His law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:1-2).
I listed several resources at the end of last week’s blog post, to help you learn more about idolatry in our culture. Next week we’ll continue with how to purify our lips from idolatry.
All Scripture in this blog post taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.