Thoughts on life and Scripture...

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Aztecs, Mayans, Incas, and the Glory of the Lord

I was recently reading a little about the Aztecs, Mayans, and Incas. These were civilisations in South and Central America. They flourished for a time until ultimately they were conquered by the Spanish. But what struck me as I read, was their bloody religion. Each of these empires sacrificed humans. This was not just once and awhile, but often. In fact, many of their wars were launched for the sole purpose of getting captives to be sacrificed to their gods. Often the best victims were taken up a pyramid on top of which was a temple. There the victim was held down and his heart cut out by the priest. The heart was then placed on the altar to please the gods and the body was thrown down the steps. Men, old women, and children were all sacrificed to please the gods. Even the worshippers of these gods would cut themselves and present their own blood to the gods. Their gods were angry gods. They needed to be appeased by the death of people. What horrible religions!

When we look at the religions that the heart of man has come up with, we see in most cases that his gods are horrible beings. The gods of the Greeks and Romans were sinful and wicked. Allah is cold and distant. The god of the Jehovah Witnesses and the god of the Mormons demand good works for salvation with no assurance of salvation. These are gods made in the image of man. In many religions the spirits are out to get people and must be appeased. People live in great fear that the spirit will harm or kill them. The gods of the nations are cruel to their worshippers. The worshippers find no peace of conscience by rituals.

Here in our modern culture, we have cruel gods too. We worship the god of Self. This god also demands us to sacrifice others. Sometimes it is a literal sacrifice, where babies are sacrificed by abortion to meet the selfish demands of the god, Self. Sometimes the sacrifices are not so literal but still very real. We sacrifice the feelings, plans, interests, and hopes of others to make the god Self happy. All our modern gods are not much different than the gods of the ancients. Yet in every case man-made religions and idols are oppressive to people. Strange as it is, it is true. But what a difference there is in the true God and His worship.

The true and living God is so glorious and good. His love is infinite. His laws are good laws intended for our joy.  He is good to His enemies. He should make a quick and painful end to all rebels. But He does something more glorious; He becomes a sacrifice for them. He came to earth, took on a human nature, and lived among His creatures. Then He suffered in their place for their sins. He died for them and then rose to give them eternal life. How different is our God than the gods of men. All that is needed for salvation, He accomplishes for us. We don't have to appease Him. We simply give to Him in love and gratitude our lives in holy service. The life, salvation, and peace that God gives are real and powerful.

Reading about the gods of the Aztecs, Mayans and Incas made me worship our great God who is so different. I hope you will join in worship to the Lord as well.
Psalm 96:2-6
Sing to the Lord, bless His name;
Tell of His salvation from day to day.
Declare His glory among the nations,
His marvelous works among the nations!
For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
He is to be fear above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idol,
But the Lord made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before Him;
Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.

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