Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there.
When you enter the land that God, your God, is giving you, don’t take on the abominable ways of life of the nations there.
“When you enter the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable (repulsive) practices of those nations.” -AMPLIFIED
Moses continues to instruct the people on what they should and should not do once they arrive in the land that God has promised to them. Moses is very adamant that the Israelites were NOT to imitate the ways of the other nations. God had made it quite clear that the practices of those nations were repulsive to Him and He would not tolerate them from His people.
The Canaanites were notorious for their gruesome religious practices. Moses warns the people against all of the Canaanite practices. “Don’t ever burn any of your sons or daughters alive as a sacrifice! And don’t ever get involved in any divining, such as predicting fortunes, interpreting omens, sorcery, casting spells, or trying to contact ghosts, spirits, or the dead. The Eternal is horrified when anyone does these things. It’s because of these horrible practices that the Eternal your God is driving those nations out ahead of you.” -Deuteronomy 18:10-12 (VOICE)
The footnote in the VOICE translation shares this information about the Canaanites. “The pagan nations around them share the belief that absolute immanent power comes from within creation. They engage in many activities designed to tap into that power so that they can gain knowledge of the future or have influence over others. “Drawing lots” is often done by writing possibilities on pottery shards, putting them in a bag, and then drawing out an answer. Other ways of trying to predict the future or choose the best course include watching the shapes of clouds or listening for natural omens such as bird cries. It is commonly believed that spirits and the dead can also provide guidance and special information. Whatever specific practices are being described here, however, the general principle is once again that the people should trust the Lord, transcendent above creation, as their source of guidance and protection.”
Jeremiah, the prophet of God, also warned the people of Israel against doing what the other nations were doing, “This is what the Lord says: “Don’t learn the way of the nations, and don’t be terrified by signs in the heavens, though the nations are terrified of them.” -Jeremiah 10:2 (ISV)
God is very insistent that His people will not look for signs, consult fortune-tellers or seek to speak to the dead for information. The prophet Isaiah warned the people of Israel, “When the people [instead of trusting God] say to you, “Consult the mediums [who try to talk to the dead] and the soothsayers who chirp and whisper and mutter,” should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living? [Direct those people] to the law and to the testimony! If their teachings are not in accord with this word, it is because they have no dawn.” -Isaiah 8:19-20 (AMP)
Remember what the Apostle Paul told the Romans? “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” -Romans 12:1-2 (MSG)
We are not of this World. We are just passing through. The Apostle Peter warns us, “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” -1 Peter 2:10-12 (VOICE)
What we need to remember to do what is right and keep our eyes on God. We are suppose to be pleasing Him exclusively. We are not to be copying the ways of the World. We are not to be trying to fit in with what the World does. We are to be standing out as different. We are to be a light; pointing others to Christ.
Lord, help me to keep my eyes firmly fixed on You. I know that you do not want me to copy the ways of the World. You want me to live according to the ways of Your Word. Help me to keep my priorities straight. I am an alien passing through this place and my top priority is to be found pleasing to You. Lord, I am keeping my eyes on You!