The Silver on the Idol
George H. Morrison
The fiercest struggle which Israel had to wage was the struggle to maintain its spirituality. It was in constant peril of declining on the degrading practices of idol-worship. Surrounded by the ancient rites of Egypt there had come a silent sapping of the heart. Influences never to be quite eradicated had seeded in the life of captive Israel. And now, about to enter the new country where was to be their triumph and their tragedy, influences still more deadly were inevitable. Everywhere in the promised land of Canaan the practices of idolatry were rife. Every grove had its polluting worship; every hill its altar or its shrine. And hence the severity, the ring of ruthlessness, the fierce rejection of the thought of compromise that sounds through these injunctions of the Lord.
Now there was one problem certain to emerge in that long struggle of extermination, and it is this problem which in our text the care of heaven foresees and makes provision for. Many of the idols of the Canaanites were fashioned with curious and costly workmanship. There was exquisite work of silver on their surface; there was delicate artistry of beaten gold. And the question was, when the Canaanites were vanquished and their idols had fallen into the victors' hands, how were these precious things to be regarded? Every one knew what had occurred in Egypt. The spoiling of the Egyptians was commanded. With jewels of silver and ornaments of gold Israel had journeyed from the house of bondage. And the problem was, were they to act in Canaan as they had been bidden by God to act in Egypt and to enrich themselves with idol-spoil? It was then that clear and sharp came the command. You shall not desire their silver or their gold. Let them alone. Lay not a hand upon them. Burn them in the fire until they be perished. No Jewish woman was to adorn herself, no house was to be adorned, no temple beautified with the gold or with the silver of ...
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