Monday, March 25, 2013

Law and Grace (12) Spiritual Protection

The law is really fussy about one thing. The people were reminded repeatedly that they must not worship idols. This was not because God cannot cope with competition. The reality was that worshipping idols opened the people up to evil spirits. Because Jesus had not yet died on the cross, the Israelites had very little protection from spiritual attack.

In the Old Testament age, there was no cure for evil spirits. When King Saul was attacked by a spirit, he could be calmed by David’s singing, but he could never escape their torment (1 Sam 16:14-23). Jesus had not yet died for sin, so evil spirits had not been defeated. The Holy Spirit had not come on all people, so evil spirits could not be cast out. The only way to keep safe from evil spirits was to keep separate from the people who carried them and the places where they lived.

In Moses time, the wickedness of the Canaanites had increased enormously, so the land was full of evil spirits. Canaan had become the haunt of every foul demon and bad spirit. The Israelites had already demonstrated a vulnerability to the practices of the people around them, so God was running an enormous risk by bringing his people into this land without any spiritual protection. The only way to get rid of these demons was to expel the people, so they would carry them out with them.

Some of the demons were attached to the idols that the Canaanites had built. By worshipping these idols, the people of God opened themselves up to demonic attack. Welcoming these evil spirits back into the land was dangerous, because it gives evil a much greater freedom to work. If worship of idols got too prevalent, a huge flood of evil would follow. This was why the law was so hostile to the worship of idols. Bringing demonic powers back into the land would release more evil than the law could control. The law could restrain the worst effects of sin,but once evil took hold in a society, evil would win.

The curses in Deuteronomy 28 were self-fulfilling. If the people turned away from God and seriously worshipped idol, evil would be set free. All the blessings that came from living according to God’s guidelines would be swamped by the outworking of evil.

Going into a land that had been a stronghold of evil spirits was risky. In the hostile spiritual environment of the Middle East, the children of Israel needed serious protection from spiritual attack. The only workable protection was to avoid the worship of idols and magic proclamations that would release evil in the land.


Anonymous said...

your post has a lot of suppositions in it you can prove none of what you say with the scripture. you have made null the eternal word of God by your error in thinking. God's Law has never been nullified or abolished.

Blessed Economist said...

Ditto. I agree that God's law has not been abolished. That's why we need to understand it.

Genghis7777 said...

While the Scriptures do not place considerable emphasis on demonology, a knowledge of Demons and what their nature and their powers can be gleaned from diverse sources in both the OT and NT.

While much of what is expressed in this post can be inferred from these sources, many scholars would find these inferences debatable.