The Bible is not just a book of good stories, it is intended that we should learn from these stories. First, it is a good way to learn what it takes to please God, and secondly, it is a way to learn what not to do to make God mad. God is a jealous God, but He is also a fair and patient God.
In Deuteronomy 28, God outlined the blessings that His people would encounter if they kept the terms of the Covenant, and the curses that will come on them if they did not keep the terms of the covenant. Basically, the terms could be summed up as “Do not serve any other gods besides the true and Living God. You see, the Jews had picked up a lot of the Egyptian traditions when they lived there, and had passed down these traditions through the generations, and they found it hard to give up these traditions. Most of these traditions involved superstition or giving God’s credit to an image or make-believe character. The Greeks and the Babylonians had a lot of these traditions too, and those who lived by these traditions were referred to as pagans.
In 1 and 2 Chronicles, we learn about all of the kings of Israel and Judah. Each king is judged by whether he pleased God or not. Kings, like Hezekiah and Josiah, who tore down the High Places where the Jews practiced these traditions, greatly pleased God. Each of them brought the people closer to God, and encouraged the people to turn away from these traditions. In turn, God give them many victories over their enemies, He fought their battles for them, give them great wealth, and the respect of the neighboring nations. Those kings who did not turn the people’s hearts to God, or who ignored the traditions, were regarded as evil kings, and they were judged for it. They experienced the curses of the Covenant.
We ought to learn from these books and stories that it is very important to God that we turn away from these traditions. Some of these same traditions, have been disguised by Satan today, and we continue to unknowingly worship these same idols, when we think that we are honoring the only true and living God. God is not pleased, and we will also experience the curses of the Covenant. In Deuteronomy 12, God warned, “…be careful not to be ensnared by inquiring about their gods, saying, “How do these nations serve their gods? We will do the same.” You must not worship the LORD your God in their way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the LORD hates…See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it.” (Deuteronomy 12:30-32)
Christmas, Easter, Halloween, and Valentine’s Day all had their origin in pagan traditions long before Jesus was born of a virgin. The Romans have intentionally merged these traditions with the Christian religion to “Christianize” the pagan traditions. For many years, the Puritans resisted these traditions, but eventually, we were enticed until they have merged Christmas trees, Santa Claus, Easter Eggs, Cupid, and Halloween into traditions that the churches celebrate.
Jesus warned us, “…you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ (Matthew 15:6-9)
Jesus also warned us of false prophets and preachers that lead us astray. Preachers now think it is OK to bring the Christmas Tree into the church, when this is also a pagan tradition to honor the rebirth of the Sun God at the Winter Solstice. God regards this as an abomination that causes desolation. We now have the ability to read God’s word for ourselves, so we do not have to depend on the preacher. We ought to read God’s word for ourselves, and question these traditions. I saw a Roman Catholic service recently, where the people were bringing gifts to lay before a graven image of a baby in a manager. If we study the Ten Commandments, we will learn that God does not like this. Are we just honoring God with our lips? Are we worshipping God in vain? Or are we seeking God with all of our hearts? The prophet Jeremiah warned in Lamentations 2:14, “Your prophets have said so many foolish things, false to the core. They did not save you from exile by pointing out your sins. Instead, they painted false pictures, filling you with false hope. (Lamentations 2:14 (NLT))
Let us not get happy on these ‘false hope’ messages, and worship God in vain, because Jesus has warned in Matthew 7, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits…Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:13-23)