How to Avoid Polluting Your Faith — Genesis 12:4

Depending on the translation of Joshua 24:2 (which can be translated either way), the ancestors of the Israelites, including Terah, served other gods, but Abraham and Nahor did not. Or, the ancestors of the Hebrews, including Terah, Abraham, and Nahor, served other gods. I believe the first translation/interpretation is better. Why?

First, Abraham and Nahor could have learned about the LORD from Noah and Shem, because they still lived in the time of Abraham. Likewise, Terah, their father, could have known the LORD at one time, but he turned to worshiping idols (some traditions say that Terah even had an idol shop). As their father, Terah could have an immense religious impact for evil on his sons, perhaps even misleading them to worshiping idols.

Second, from considering God’s selection of Noah to build the ark, we know God chose him because he was a righteous man — meaning Noah lived by faith in the LORD. The LORD chose David to be king because he was a man after God’s own heart (he wrote many psalms as a shepherd). Abraham may have been nearing a crossroads spiritually when the LORD spoke to him and called him to go to the land He would show him (the land of Canaan). Because Abraham worshiped the LORD, God wanted to separate him from a land of idolatry to become a blessing to the world through faith in the true God.

In Haran, we know that Nahor and his family knew (or at least knew about) the LORD, for when Abraham’s servant visited them in Haran to find a wife for Isaac, the family agreed that because the servant had prayed and received God’s answer, his request was from the LORD. We know that at some point they polluted their faith by bringing idols into their family, perhaps thinking they could serve the LORD and also idols, because Rachel stole the family idols when Jacob returned to Canaan with her and Leah as his wives.

What might this mean to us? How can we avoid polluting our faith?

Abraham illustrates a person who had a growing faith that was not perfect, while those in Haran illustrate a polluted faith that included worshiping idols. Like Abraham, we can choose to worship the true God alone as the Bible has revealed God and grow in faith (though we may not be perfect). Or, we can choose to mix the worship of idols into our worship of God and develop an ever more polluted faith that results in more sin and spiritual decline.

We learn from Abraham and Nahor that those around us, including members of our own family sometimes, can help us grow spiritually (as did Isaac and Jacob/Israel), or lead us away from a pure faith into a polluted faith that can include serving idols (modern idols; such as, the love of “money” or the quest for “power” or other “desires” the Bible forbids). If we do not leave today’s idols behind to follow the true God of the Bible, we will always have a polluted faith. We might need to pray for the LORD to show us how to follow Him and then go where He leads in order to live totally faithful to the LORD. We may not need to go far, only as far as accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and committing ourselves to doing everything He has commanded us in the Bible.

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