An idol is literally a piece of stone or wood. However, it gives demonic forces an opportunity. If someone is seeking to communicate with the spiritual world in a forbidden way, a demon can take advantage of that. Paul points out below that demons do this. In western society idols are less common. Catholics use icons, but that is quite a different thing. Of course some minority religions use idols, but many but many people idolize material things. Although idolizing a car, a friend, or a house may seem harmless it provides demons with opportunities. Another area of demonic opportunity is the occult. Ouija boards are sold in game stores, and we see fortune tellers working from their houses in suburban Chicago. Do you have the courage to oppose such things?
1 Corinthians 10: 18-22
18Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar? 19Do I mean then that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons. 22Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy? Are we stronger than he?
- What does Paul want the Corinthians to consider about the people of Israel?
- Who accepts the sacrifices offered by pagans?
- How do you think pagans would feel about Paul’s words? Why is he so offensive?
- How do modern Christians approach the reality of demons using other religions?
- How can a Christian show respect to participants in other religions and also refrain from being drawn into syncretism (defined yesterday)?
Watch The Princess and the Frog by Disney. How is the occult represented? Is it healthy or helpful for children to see such an horrific representation of the reality behind the occult? However, the same movie shows a positive representation of the occult. What do we do with that?