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The Daily Word of Righteousness
Total Destruction, #8
This is what you are to do to them: Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones, cut down their Asherah poles and burn their idols in the fire. (Deuteronomy 7:5—NIV)
The Israelites did not do this. Many of the Asherah poles, symbols of lust, were kept in the land and soon the Israelites were worshiping them.
We may ask, "Why didn't they cut them down?"
The reason is, there was strong social sentiment at the time, especially on the part of the Canaanites. It is not that easy to march in like Oliver Cromwell and overthrow the customs of the land, as Cromwell did to the maypole ceremonies in England, for example.
We might think we would be strong and obey God in the face of social disapproval, but would we actually strike out harshly and offend people? What are we doing today? Are we merciless toward the sin in our own life even though "everyone is doing it"? Are we actually doing what God is requiring?
I am not speaking about getting the sin out of other people or acting harshly or critically toward them. I am referring to getting the sin out of our own life. When we do we will find that we are gentle and patient with other people.
When we first came to the church we now are pastoring we preached our usual message of deliverance from worldliness, lust, and self-will, along with many positive aspects of salvation, such as the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.
At that time the so-called "faith" and "prosperity" messages were sweeping America. You can imagine the contrast between our church and the surrounding churches. We soon gained a reputation for not having "love." It wasn't that we did not have love for the people, it was that we were not currying favor with them by telling them how pleased God was with them and how He was just about to remove them to Heaven so they wouldn't have to suffer.
Sometimes on the way home, after the Sunday morning preaching, I would ask the Lord if I had been harsh or gloomy. The answer was always in the form of a question: "Did you preach what the Bible says?"
Now, many years later, we have considerable praise and rejoicing in our services, tambourines, banners, dancing, mime—all of this to welcome the King who is at the gates of the world. The people who have remained with us are growing spiritually. We love the Lord and rejoice much, but we are determined to have nothing to do with sin. It must be destroyed. This is what God desires, and so His Presence can be felt in our assembly.
We do not show love for people when we do not tell them clearly what the Bible says. When we curry favor with the congregation we reveal only love for ourselves at the expense of the destiny of our hearers. This is not love! Do you agree with me on that point?
For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession. (Deuteronomy 7:6—NIV)
This is the meaning of holy—to be chosen by the Lord to be His treasured possession. We Christians are not wise when we compare ourselves with the people of the world. God does not judge them as harshly as He does us. God does not require of them what He does of us.
To be continued.