Idolatry: Sabbath and Parents

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, February 5, 2021 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.”
“Honor your father and your mother…” -Exodus 20:8, 12

As I continue my series on idolatry and how it violates all ten of the Ten Commandments, these two are the only two they really didn’t play much of a role in the worship of idols or the rituals involved in the practices. There are issues involved, but they don’t stand out as much as the other commandments.

It is important to recognize that in every idolatrous practice, there is some corruption of what God has instituted, and the 7-day week is no exception. Israel routinely gave it lip service, but they truly didn’t honor it. Along with the 7-day week, God extended the lesson regarding the land that every seven years the people were to let the land grow fallow so it could rest and be restored. The captivity lasted for 70 years because for 490 years, Israel had not honored the Sabbath in regards to the land. That included through the reign of good kings like David, Jehoshaphat, and Hezekiah. But was it idolatrous to do this? Actually, and I state clearly that this is just my opinion on this matter, I suspect idolatry led to this.

The purpose of the Sabbath was primarily two-fold. The first purpose is to rest the body and mind and let it recover. Science has revealed that the 6-day work week and 1-day rest is the best way for someone to be productive over any other structure. When groups like Russia and France tried to implement a 10-day week or a five-day week, they ended in utter failure. The second purpose was to remember God. While we are supposed to think about God continually, it is this Sabbath day in which we are specially meant to focus on God. Every 7th day, Israel was meant to remember God, what He had done for them, who He was, and think and dwell upon Him. Yet, we can see from how readily and how frequently Israel had turned to idols that very little remembrance of God took place. In the worship of idols, we forget God and any religious practices we do become nothing but meaningless rituals of vain repetition, completely devoid of their intended purpose.

The Sabbath is violated today ,too. And I’m not talking about Saturday vs Sunday. That’s for a whole separate debate. I’m talking about how today, there is a direct assault on the Creation week. Some may say I’m being petty here, but I do not take the clarity of Scripture as being a petty issue. Was the Creation week 6 normal days, or long periods of time, or what? How you take this may reveal if your understanding of God is accurate or a figment of your imagination, and thus an idol. Is God able to clearly communicate what He said and how He did things or not? Those who question the 6-day creation week argue from a position that Genesis 1 cannot be understood, which is a post-modern approach, not a Biblical one.

The “Progressive Christian” leaders make a big emphasis that the Bible gives more questions than answers and they purpose to teach that answers can’t be known. I ask this: “If Genesis 1 cannot be known, how can God be known? Or Jesus? Or the cross? Or salvation?” I have come to believe that those who fully believe “Old Earth” creation models do not worship the same God as described in the Bible and have made a god (idol) of their own liking which changes and conforms to the winds and waves of modern scientific models, and I’ll take anyone up to task on that. Clarification: there are true born-again believers who do hold to “old earth creation” models, but in their thinking and their studying, the old earth models truly have little to do with it and are hardly ever to be seen. So those people actually don’t believe the “old earth models.”

The other commandment I’ll address here is the 5th Commandment: Honor your mother and father. This one I really couldn’t find a direct connection to, which is why I will make this part quick and undeserving of a full post. While we are to honor our parents, those who gave us birth, and whom by instinct to want the best for us (there are numerous exceptions to this), how much more so should we honor our Father in Heaven, our Creator? If we turn to other idols, are we honoring God?

But this command is specifically about our earthly mother and father. There are many children who did “honor” their mother and father by participating in the idolatrous practices with them. See Jeremiah 7:17-19 for a direct example of this. They were being obedient and doing what their parents asked. How is that not ‘honoring thy mother and father’? When your parents have gone so far as to ask you to do something that is wrong, at what point do you honor them or do you speak up and say, “How can I do such a wicked thing?” Not having pagan parents myself, it’s hard for me to give an appropriate answer to that.

What I will say is this: if you are going to commit sin, even if your parents are asking you to do it, you are not honoring them. You are not honoring the position God gave them. You are caving to wickedness, and in the end, it will be your conscience that will be cut, not for disobeying your parents, but for disobeying God. And unfortunately, wicked parents will pull this command on their kids to get them to participate in evil deeds. Idolatry is no exception.

Now what about those who were raised in a Christian home and taught the ways of God and the child goes wayward? Chances are high that said child has another ‘god’ he/she is listening to and in that case, idolatry has come into play and leads to a dishonoring of the mother and father. Hezekiah had cleaned out all the idols in Judah, but his son Manasseh became the most idolatrous king of Judah. Though Manasseh was only 12 years old when he became king, he dishonored his father by turning to the very idols that his father destroyed well before he was even born. In this case, we see idolatry leading to the breaking of the 5th Commandment.

Idolatry doesn’t just mess with our relationship with God. It messes with our relationships with others as well. If our sins violate our vertical relationship with God, how much more will it violate our horizontal relationships with our own kind? Here we see how both are violated. As I continue my series, we’ll see how idolatry produces even greater evil in our dealings with men as I go through the rest of the “horizontal” commandments. Next week, I’ll examine murder.

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