READING: Deuteronomy 16-19
“The Lord your God has not permitted you to do this.”
The Hebrews were about to enter a land filled with evil. The catalogue of Canaanite sins the Hebrews were to avoid was almost hard to believe – and even likely incomplete: “No one among you is to sacrifice his son or daughter in the fire, practice divination, tell fortunes, interpret omens, practice sorcery, cast spells, consult a medium or a spiritist, or inquire of the dead” (Deut. 18:10-11). It’s no wonder that God told His people not to imitate the “detestable customs” of the people (Deut. 18:9). Indeed, He reminded them again and again that they were to purge evil from among them.
The wording of Deuteronomy 18:14 is especially pertinent to North American culture today, in my estimation. God told His people, “Though these nations you are about to drive out listen to fortune-tellers and diviners, the Lord your God has not permitted you to do this.” Evil would surround the people. Everywhere they turned would be evidence of pagan religion and false gods. God was clear in His mandate, though: the fact that the Canaanites were doing such things did not give the Hebrews permission to do the same. In other words, “Everybody else is doing it” just wouldn’t work as an excuse.
That’s the point that comes to mind for me today. It would be easy for the people of God in North America to look around, see ungodly standards becoming the norm, and slowly follow the way of culture. It’s harder and harder to be distinct when it seems like everyone else is going in a different direction. On the other hand—and more importantly – God’s standards haven’t changed. He still expects His people to be different.
- Evaluate whether you are compromising God’s standards in any area of your thinking.
- In the power of God, stand up for biblical righteousness today.
PRAYER: “Lord, I don’t want to follow the world, but we’re all vulnerable. Keep my focus on You and Your Word.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Deuteronomy 20-23