Synonyms for talisman (noun a small object worn or kept for its supposed magical power)
“But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments” (Matt. 23:5).
FOR GOOD OR FOR A STUMBLING BLOCK?
One of the little remembered facts about the good and lifesaving brazen serpent that Moses made was that it became a stumbling block for the people and was destroyed by a righteous king. If you don’t recall how the brass serpent came into being, the account is found in the book of Numbers.
And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived (Num. 21:6-9).
Many years later it was recorded of King Hezekiah that, “He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it…” (2 Kings 18:4). What an incredibly interesting artifact of history! But the point is that something that was purposed and designed for good had been turned into an object of sin. We must be careful not to fall into the same traps in our lives, recognizing of course that it’s unlikely we’d burn incense to an inanimate object, but we can fall prey to Satan’s attempts to turn something designed for good into a stumbling block.
Jesus said, “How can ye believe, which receive honour [literally ‘glory’] one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?” (John 5:44). And Jesus had just said in vs. 41, “I receive not honour from men”. We are certainly to encourage and edify one another, but if our method to encouragement is to heap glory and praise on individuals, it’s not pleasing to God and can become a stumbling block. The word translated ‘honour’ often refers to ‘value paid’, not ‘glory’. It’s not uncommon to see brethren put on pedestals and lauded, but it’s not God’s design for the Church.
It’s well known that money can be a blessing, but also be a stumbling block for those who covet after it and err. Paul warned Timothy, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1Tim. 6:10). The same money that we can use to lay up treasure in Heaven can be a source of temptation and downfall.
These are but two examples to illustrate a point that spiritual danger exists even among those things that are good, or were designed for our good. We must be on guard against the devices of Satan and resist him.
Question: If a rabbit’s foot really brings good luck to the person carrying it, why did it not bring good luck to the rabbit?