Daily Devotional: Day 139
“Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘I am the Lord your God. According to the doings of the land of Egypt, where you dwelt, you shall not do; and according to the doings of the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you, you shall not do; nor shall you walk in their ordinances” (Leviticus 18:2-3, NKJV).
When the Lord brought the Israelites out of Egypt, His purpose was to make Israel His chosen nation, separated from the nations of the world (cf. Exodus 19:1-6). And, that is what He did. To make His plan work, He painstakingly gave them a unique identity through a set of commandments and the ministry of priests and prophets. What makes every nation unique is its laws, customs, history and culture. To be God’s chosen nation, Israel, too, needed its own God-given culture, customs and laws to set it apart from other nations. The formation of Israel’s identity as God’s people wasn’t easy. But it did eventually take shape.
With this background, let’s get into today’s Bible passage. God’s instruction to the Israelites is clear. He identifies two nations and warns His people not to imitate them: Egypt and Canaan. The Israelites had been in Egypt for about four hundred years, so they were well acquainted with Egyptian religion, life and culture. God didn’t want to take any chances. Being under pagan influence for four hundred years, the Israelites had a lot to unlearn and much to learn about becoming citizens of Jehovah’s nation.
Ungodly experiences or habits from your past, if not adequately dealt with, can carry over into your present life and hinder you from being set apart unto God for holiness. Don’t ignore your past as though it never existed. Identify anything from your past which still seems to adversely affect your present life, face it squarely, and by the power of God’s grace, deal with it once and for all.
In addition to Israel’s past contact with Egypt, the Lord also warned Israel about its future contact with the land of Canaan. When you are planning a future move, don’t walk blindly into a situation. It is important to pray, plan and research about the move, and understand how you will live in the new environment while staying true to God.
As Christians, we should know that the practices of Egypt and Canaan are alive and well in nearly every culture around the world today. Our only protection is to listen to God and not copy blindly. In the Old Testament, we see that the main reason for Israel’s downfall was the fact that they borrowed the pagan practices of the surrounding cultures. As God’s people, we have a culture of our own dictated by the Lord. It is a culture of holiness and righteousness. No matter where we dwell, let’s remember that we are citizens of God’s holy nation. Let’s not be polluted by the ungodly practices around us.
May the Lord let His face shine on you and your family today! Amen.
For further study: Leviticus 18:1-30