Tobacco Origins in Offerings to the Spirits: What the Bible Says about Smoking
By Betty Miller
Little Foxes – small compromises that cause big problems
Song of Solomon 2:15 says, “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.” Foxes sometime in search of food would enter into the grape orchards and devour the grapes and spoil the crop. However, the little foxes were too small to reach the grape bunches so they would chew on the vines and it would kill the whole vine. Instead of the farmer just losing his crop, he would lose his vine which was more disastrous. Spiritually some things we do or allow that we might think are little or insignificant can also be disastrous for us.
I chose to deal with the issue of smoking as a “little fox” because most people that indulge in this practice do not realize the toll it takes on the longivity of their lives until it is too late. I read a shocking statistic that stated “the heavy smoker pays with 34.6 minutes of life for each cigarette he smokes. The pack-a-day smoker pays with 11.5 hours for each pack he smokes.” This would equate to someone’s life span being cut almost in half due to the evil of smoking. The Lord promises us long life in the Bible but those who violate His commandments are choosing to shorten their own lives. Psalm 91:16 says, “With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation.” Consider also Proverbs 4:10, “Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many.”
Origins of Tobacco
What does the Bible say about smoking? You will find no text that says, “Thou shalt not smoke.” Tobacco is not mentioned in the Bible for a very good reason; its use is of comparatively recent origin and was not known in Bible times. In fact, Western Europe was introduced to it from the Americas in the sixteen century.
In 1613, John Rolfe sent the first shipment of Virginia tobacco from Jamestown to England. Sir Walter Raleigh also imported it from the island of Tobago (West Indies) during the later half of the sixteenth century. The practice of smoking tobacco came from the native American Indians and the Carib Indians of Tobago. These practices were done as part of their religious rites. It is interesting to find that the root of smoking tobacco came from heathen religions. Columbus was amazed when he saw the Indians of the Caribbean drawing smoke through their nostrils with a Y-shaped pipe called a “tabaca”, hence the name tobacco.
Satan is always trying to destroy God’s crowning creation “man”, anyway that he can, and addicting people to tobacco is one of those ways. If Satan cannot destroy us other ways he uses this “little nasty habit” to slowly kill us over the years. Young people are the most vulnerable as many movie and television productions glamorize drinking and smoking. They never show the long term effects this habit has on people. Coming from a background as a medical technologist I saw so many people in the hospital, suffering needlessly, as the result of their smoking. Most people are aware of the major list of diseases caused by the longterm use of tobacco which are lung, throat and mouth cancer, heart disease and emphezema. However, Satan deceives them into thinking it won’t happen to them. Young people just don’t think about their latter years, and this “little habit” finally becomes so enslaving it becomes a”big monster” and is very difficult to get free from without Christ.
Reaping What We Sow
I have known of a lot of Christians who smoked and really just did not want to give this pleasure up. The Bible does say there is pleasure in sin for a season but in the end we shall reap the result of that sin. The Bible says Moses chose to turn against the pleasures he could have enjoyed to follow God: “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season” Hebrews 11:24-25.
Galatians 6:7-8 tells us that in time we shall reap corruption from our sinful habits – “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”
Tobacco is considered physically harmful because it contains nicotine, a drug which in its pure state is highly poisonous. It definitely is not only habit forming but addictive as well. It is ludicrous to hear the tobacco company executives state otherwise. We all know that their statements were made only because it would produce huge monetary losses for them to state otherwise. They need only ask someone who has tried to get free of this evil if they think it is addicting or just merely a bad habit.
The Temple of the Holy Spirit
The Bible teaches us as Christians that we are to be clean and holy – spirit, soul and body. Our bodies are called the “temple of the Holy Spirit”. Every Christian is accountable to God for the condition of his body.
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:1-2
Someone might ask, “Why did God make tobacco since it is responsible for so many deaths?” Not only does it destroy the lives of those that smoke but we know also from research that “second hand smoke” is also a leading cause of sickness that leads to deaths, especially in small children. Pregnant mothers also endanger the lives of their unborn with this evil habit. We should also mention the many lives and property that are lost to fires caused by a careless smoker.
It is never God who is to blame for evil, as the tobacco plant has its virtues. There are useful chemical products made from tobacco which include those which kill insects and fungi. If man would spend the time and research for the good use of tobacco, I believe he would discover some healing properties in this plant, outside of smoking it. Satan always perverts the things in this world for evil use, while God has plans for them to bless mankind.
As Christians, there should be no place in our lives for this evil habit. This “little fox” is a killer and we should pray for those to be free whom we know have this problem. If you are in this trap, there is a way out. If you sincerely want to be free, tell God about your desire and your resolve. Ask others to pray for you too. Open the door of your heart heavenward and the Holy Spirit, will bring you both strength and victory.
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