Christian Devotions

Posts tagged ‘Purity’

Proximity

And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother.

Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments:

And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went.

And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem.

And they journeyed: and the terror of God was upon the cities that were round about them, and they did not pursue after the sons of Jacob.

So Jacob came to Luz, which is in the land of Canaan, that is, Bethel, he and all the people that were with him.

And he built there an altar, and called the place Elbethel: because there God appeared unto him, when he fled from the face of his brother.

But Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse died, and she was buried beneath Bethel under an oak: and the name of it was called Allonbachuth.

And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came out of Padanaram, and blessed him.

And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel.  ~~  Genesis 35:1-10

The rape of Dinah and the revenge of her brothers are directly related to geography. Jacob had settled in the middle of people who didn’t follow the Lord God. They were uncircumcised and had heathen practices.

Proximity to those practices has already affected Jacob’s family. The revenge exacted by Simeon and Levi makes it impossible for Jacob to stay where he is. So he moves yet again — this time to a place where reverence for the Lord is predominant.

We live in the midst of the heathen. While the United States claims to be a Christian nation, it is, in fact, a plural society. The predominant religion seems to be secular humanism. We are bombarded by advertising and entertainment that promulgate immoral behaviors. And we are criticized as narrow-minded or judgmental or intolerant when we reiterate the standards set forth in the word of God.

While we cannot move geographically into a pure country, we can rid ourselves of the “foreign gods” of humanism, consumerism, and immorality. We can purify ourselves by steeping ourselves in God’s word.

And we can move out in society, openly, honestly proclaiming God’s word. We can speak the truth that what God calls “abomination,” humanism calls “alternative lifestyle.” What society calls “choice,” God calls murder. We can speak gently, lovingly. But we must speak the truth.

Father, God,

Grant us the grace of purity of mind and heart. Give us the courage to speak boldly the truth of Your word. And keep us ever close to you.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.
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The Opposites

Focus verses: Leviticus 18:24-30

Today’s reading covers some unpopular topics. All related to sexual purity. It spells out God’s thoughts on marriage, adultery, incest, homosexuality, and bestiality. He’s for marriage and against all the rest.

This is not a popular stance in today’s world. We are bombarded with demands for gay rights in the name of tolerance. We see people hopping in and out of bed with various partners time and time again as if it were the most normal thing in the world. We give our teenage daughters birth control pills and tell them to have a good time. And we let them date younger and younger each year.

What can we be thinking?

God’s message is clear. Promiscuity is forbidden. Adultery is forbidden. Homosexuality is forbidden. Incest is forbidden. Purity in marriage is to be the rule, not the exception.

God seems to hold marriage in high esteem. He started the whole thing in the garden when he gave Eve to Adam. And he communed with the two of them in the cool of the evening. Husband and wife spending quality time with God, what a picture.

It would seem that this should be the ideal we strive for. Marriage is a partnership of two people twining themselves around as much of God as they can understand.

If we truly understood God, none of the atrocities against marriage that we currently tolerate, and sometimes even promote would be so prevalent in our land. We would have less divorce, less infidelity.

Father, God,

Help us to understand that Your thoughts on purity and marriage are designed for our well-being. Keep us from becoming insensitive to the violations of your laws and give us the courage to speak out when we see tolerance becoming license.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Intolerance or Purity

Focus verses: Numbers 33:50-56

When the Israelites are about to enter the Promised Land, they are told to utterly destroy the holy things of the people they are about to displace. They are told to drive out the inhabitants, not simply to conquer them.

God is not talking about vengeance here. He is talking about purity. If they allow the holy places of the pagans to remain, they will become what is legally known as “an attractive nuisance.” People are drawn to the forbidden. Tell a child not to go beyond a fence, and you can’t turn your back but what he’s trying to scale it, or burrow beneath it, or unlock the gate.

The Israelites are told to destroy the images and idols of the pagans. To demolish their places of worship. If they don’t do this, they will be tempted just to see what goes on there. To look at the idols and images as pieces of art. And they are apt to be seduced by what they see, and their worship of God will be adulterated.

In some sense, you can’t be both tolerant and pure. If you harbor people of differing beliefs, you must be strong and pure in what you believe, or you are apt to be led into believing half-ruths and innuendo.

God requires an undivided heart. If you give Him anything less, you are subject to judgment. He is a jealous God because He loves us. Not because he is a petty tyrant. He knows our propensity to be lead astray by curiosity, by idle wondering.

Father, God,

Help us to drive out anything that would hinder our fellowship with You. Show us the idols and high places in our lives so that we may destroy them in order to serve you better and draw nearer Your throne.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Proximity

And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother.

Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments:

And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went.

And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem.

And they journeyed: and the terror of God was upon the cities that were round about them, and they did not pursue after the sons of Jacob.

So Jacob came to Luz, which is in the land of Canaan, that is, Bethel, he and all the people that were with him.

And he built there an altar, and called the place Elbethel: because there God appeared unto him, when he fled from the face of his brother.

But Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse died, and she was buried beneath Bethel under an oak: and the name of it was called Allonbachuth.

And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came out of Padanaram, and blessed him.

And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel.  ~~  Genesis 35:1-10

The rape of Dinah and the revenge of her brothers are directly related to geography. Jacob had settled in the middle of people who didn’t follow the Lord God. They were uncircumcised and had heathen practices.

Proximity to those practices has already affected Jacob’s family. The revenge exacted by Simeon and Levi makes it impossible for Jacob to stay where he is. So he moves yet again — this time to a place where reverence for the Lord is predominant.

We live in the midst of the heathen. While the United States claims to be a Christian nation, it is, in fact, a plural society. The predominant religion seems to be secular humanism. We are bombarded by advertising and entertainment that promulgate immoral behaviors. And we are criticized as narrow-minded or judgmental or intolerant when we reiterate the standards set forth in the word of God.

While we cannot move geographically into a pure country, we can rid ourselves of the “foreign gods” of humanism, consumerism, and immorality. We can purify ourselves by steeping ourselves in God’s word.

And we can move out in society, openly, honestly proclaiming God’s word. We can speak the truth that what God calls “abomination,” humanism calls “alternative lifestyle.” What society calls “choice,” God calls murder. We can speak gently, lovingly. But we must speak the truth.

Father, God,

Grant us the grace of purity of mind and heart. Give us the courage to speak boldly the truth of Your word. And keep us ever close to you.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.