....keep yourselves from the accursed thing,
lest ye make yourselves accursed,
when ye take of the accursed thing....
The Accursed Thing
When the Israelites were preparing themselves to battle in the land of Caanan, God provided very clear, very stern warnings about the fact that they were not to salvage enemy artifacts & that doing so could result in a 'spiritual' contamination, both for the individual who retained the items as well as for the Israelite community at large.
25 The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire:
thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them,
nor take it unto thee,
lest thou be snared therin:
for it is an abomination to the Lord thy God.
26 Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house,
lest thou be a cursed thing like it:
but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it;
for it is a cursed thing.
After the great battle victory at Jericho, Israel suddenly found itself weak in the face of a lesser enemy. Upon inquiry it was discovered that the source of their reversal in military strength had to do with the fact that one of the soldiers made the mistake of retrieving a few pieces of spoil while in Jericho. This is what God had to say:
11 Israel hath sinned,
and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them:
for they have even taken of the accursed thing,
and have also stolen, and dissembled also,
and they have put it even among their own stuff.
12 Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies,
but turned their backs before their enemies,
because they were accursed:
neither will I be with you any more,
except ye destroy the accursed from among you.
thou canst not stand before thine enemies,
until ye take away the accursed thing from among you.
Sadly, in order to restore their strength & to protect the community this is what had to happen:
24 And Joshua, and all Israel with him,
took Achan the son of Zerah,
and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold,
and his sons, and his daughters,
and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep,
and his tent, and all that he had:
and they brought them unto the valley of Achor.
25 And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us?
the Lord shall trouble thee this day.
And all Israel stoned him with stones,
and burned them with fire,
after they had stoned them with stones.
Before becoming a Christian, the truth is that I really enjoyed collecting beautiful artifacts from all over the world-especially Asia. Then I realized I was running into problems & had to give them up. This topic of discussion is not one that I can speak on with authority, except to say that it should be taken very seriously & with the utmost respect. This is an area where trust in the Creator & obedience to his commandments are simply non-negotiable.