6 Therefore, be very strong to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, turning aside from it neither to the right hand nor to the left, 7 that you may not mix with these nations remaining among you or make mention of the names of their gods or swear by them or serve them or bow down to them, 8 but you shall cling to the Lord your God just as you have done to this day.
With the most recent Christian media frenzy over Rob Bell’s latest book, we are reminded that, for centuries, people have attempted to mingle the worship of the one true and living God with the worship of other things. It is by no means new to see the people of God try to say that it is legitimate to worship other deities so long as one does so sincerely.
But notice God’s challenge to his people through Joshua. There is no room in the words above to allow people to worship false gods, even sincerely, and to end up pleasing the one true and living God. No, God commanded his people to destroy those false gods. God commanded his people never to even consider bowing down to other deities. How can God do this? Is God closed-minded? Of course he is. God knows that there is one and only one God. God commands his people to worship him only. And God knows that he will judge severely those who refuse to follow him.
Christians, while it may make us feel open-minded and tolerant to say that people who worship other gods will all end up in heaven in the end, this is not the testimony of the Bible. Making it clearer, this is not the testimony of God. If it were true that multiple roads, multiple names, lead to heaven, God would never have commanded his people to destroy even the remnants of Canaanite religion. But God did command this violent destruction. Why? Because those who refuse to bow to the true God are destined for violent and eternal judgment. Let us never, even for a moment, consider that we have a better plan than God’s. Let us never pretend that we are better than God by being more open-minded than the Scriptures. Instead, let us love and serve the God of the bible, a holy and jealous God.