Deuteronomy 7:26 (NLT)
26 “Do not bring any detestable objects into your home, for then you will be destroyed, just like them. You must utterly detest such things, for they are set apart for destruction.”
The Message version of that Bible verse reads, ‘ And don’t dare bring one of these abominations home or you’ll end up just like it, burned up as a holy destruction. No: It is forbidden! Hate it. Abominate it. Destroy it and preserve God’s holiness.’
That’s even more clear: don’t bring things into your home which harm you, or else you will end up just like it. This command comes during Moses address to the Hebrew people prior to the invasion of Canaan.
The Context: several verses before, Moses is talking about the nations currently occupying the land:
Deuteronomy 7:16 (NLT)
16 “You must destroy all the nations the Lord your God hands over to you. Show them no mercy, and do not worship their gods, or they will trap you.”
Then he specifically tells the Hebrews what is expected in relation to the idols & the metals that make them:
Deuteronomy 7:25 (NLT)
25 “You must burn their idols in fire, and you must not covet the silver or gold that covers them. You must not take it or it will become a trap to you, for it is detestable to the Lord your God.”
I suspect that the precious metals (Gold & Silver) used to overlay wooden idols was what could attracted the interest of people (including the Hebrew’s) & therefore God specifically warns them about taking it. Even possessing that metal could be damaging to the Hebrew people.
That is the background for verse 26, “Do not bring any detestable objects into your home…”
Personal observations: What strikes me about this verse is the thought that we are just as capable of bringing “detestable things” into our homes, today, centuries after the command was given to the Hebrew people by God. Think of DVD’s, magazines, books, games & other objects that we have bought & brought into our homes. I’m not talking about that “Sound of Music” DVD you may have, or a book about landscape gardening! There are lots of lovely things which we can buy, view & enjoy. I’m talking about dodgy subject matter: films, books, magazines, games, etc that we KNOW are way too violent, or that contain subject matter that simply is not good for us to see. There is plenty of subject matter, in all forms of “entertainment” which we know (deep down) is not holy & which is not good for us. Any subject matter that interferes with our relationship with the Holy God of Heaven is simply TOO COSTLY for us to have. Violent, lewd or occult subject matter can have a damaging effect on us, & it may not even be obvious that it IS having any effect on us. Anything that we expose ourselves to, which then suppresses or damages our conscience & our minds, is way too destructive to us.
Don’t harm yourself, or those in your family.
It’s not just ourselves we are to consider either. If you have a partner, &/or children, then what you allow to be seen in your home may affect them as well. You wouldn’t deliberately choose to bring a dangerous animal into your own home, would you? If you did, then you’d be anxious that it might harm your loved ones. Similarly you wouldn’t bring a ticking bomb into your own home, in case it exploded! Yet the dangers from inappropriate reading & viewing material can be as real as a dangerous animal, or a ticking bomb.
What is an idol anyway?
DVD’s, books, magazines, games, etc may not be “idols” in the sense of the Old Testament (wooden figures of animals, fish, people, covered in precious metals) but in the broadest sense, an “idol” is ANYTHING that takes us away from the worship of the One true God in Heaven. In that sense, our appetite for TV, DVD’s, books, video games, etc, can be seen as an “idol” if that thing takes us away from loving God & respecting Him the way we know we should.
I’m not anti-DVD, TV, games & entertainment… after all, I believe God invented these things for our enjoyment! But I do believe that we need to be careful of what we expose our minds too. There are good films & there are bad films, there are suitable games & there are unsuitable games, there are uplifting subjects & there are damaging subjects, which simply are not good for us. It is up to us to exercise self-restraint & to be sensitive to what the Holy Spirit is telling us to watch, & what not to watch.
Anything that draws us away from having God at the centre & pinnacle of our attention is potentially an idol: an object that is a distraction from the good relationship we have with God.
Paul has some very good advice on this subject, if we are in doubt about a subject matter:
Philippians 4:8-9 (NKJV)
8 “Finally, brethren, 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. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me [the apostle Paul], these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”
Therefore, if the subject matter you are considering buying is not true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous or praiseworthy, then why buy it?! A shorter version of that thought, which can help us to safe-guard our minds, souls, conscience, families & our homes is this: “IF IN DOUBT, LEAVE IT OUT”! That’s a pretty good maxim to live by & it should keep most “idols” from entering your mind, family & home!
Would bringing “detestable objects” into our homes today also bring us utter destruction from the Lord?
It is sobering what follows on in Deuteronomy 7:26, which reads, ‘ “… for then you will be destroyed, just like them [the people in the land of Canaan]. You must utterly detest such things [idols], for they are set apart for destruction.” ‘
I don’t know if that applies to us, in the same way it did to the Old Testament (OT) Hebrew people. After all, Jesus has come & a new relationship with God the Father is provided through Him, which is quite different from that which was possible in OT times. But even though Jesus life, death, resurrection & ascension into heaven has ushered in a new & better relationship with the Living God of Heaven, it is well worth noting what this verse says. In Old Testament times, God clearly warned that the chosen people (the Hebrew’s) could find themselves assigned to destruction, just like the foreign nations in the lands, BECAUSE they had polluted their own homes with idols that they should have utterly destroyed. Although God may not assign us to destruction, for bringing “idols” into our homes, today, is it worth taking that risk? Wouldn’t it be better to get rid of any DVD, book, magazine, internet, game, etc or “idols” in any other form, which we even THINK OR SUSPECT may cause damage to our relationship with the God of Heaven? Why risk it?! Surely Jesus has paid heavily (on the cross) to secure our freedom from all evil, shouldn’t we respect that sacrifice, & walk in humble obedience to Him?
“IF IN DOUBT, LEAVE IT OUT”!
The role of our conscience
Deep down I think we KNOW what is right & what is wrong for us. I think we know that the “dodgy ones” (DVD’s, films, games, magazines, etc) that we watch, or own, are not God-honouring. Nevertheless, we buy the “dodgy ones”, or else we watch them, & it is this act whereby we are “bringing them into our homes.”
God has given us each a conscience, & as a born-again Christian we also have the Holy Spirit residing within us, advising us what is good & what is not. If we LISTEN to our conscience & to the Holy Spirit, we will generally know what is right & what is wrong. That goes for what DVD’s to buy, what TV programmes to watch, what books to read, what internet sites to look at… & all the ones we shouldn’t too!
It is OUR RESPONSIBILITY what comes into our homes. We have no else to blame but ourselves if we find that spiritually damaging influences are assaulting us, if we have deliberately allowed modern-day “idols” to come into our homes.
There is a verse in 1 Corinthians that states the case very eloquently:
1 Corinthians 10:23 (AMP)
‘23 All things are legitimate [permissible—and we are free to do anything we please], but not all things are helpful (expedient, profitable, and wholesome). All things are legitimate, but not all things are constructive [to character] and edifying [to spiritual life].’
Thus, Jesus has purchased us COMPLETE FREEDOM to bring anything into our lives. However, this verse presents us with the truth: we can see, own, do anything we like, however, not all things are useful, or beneficial for our lives, families & souls. We need to be selective about what we own.
Yes, we can watch ANY DVD, TV programme or internet site we want to, but if our choices actually ensnare us & brings bad things upon us, then is it worth that loss of peace, & the potentially damaged relationship with God? Wouldn’t it be better to avoid unholy things, & maintain an open & guilt-free relationship with God?