How closely aligned to the world are we? Do we stand out in this world? Are we enough like Christ for people to tell the difference?
4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means hostility toward God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. James 4:4
One of the most glaring recriminations that Israel committed is described in Jeremiah 7:17-19,
LXX- 16 Do you not see what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 17 Their sons gather wood, and their fathers kindle the fire, while their women knead cake dough for the host of heaven [pagan gods]; and they pour out drink offerings to foreign gods to provoke Me to anger. 18 Do they provoke Me to wrath? says the Lord. “Do they not provoke themselves to the shame of their own faces?”
MAS- 17 Do you not see what they are doing in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18 The children gather wood, the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead dough to make sacrificial cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods in order to provoke Me to anger. 19 Are they provoking Me?” declares the Lord. “Is it not themselves instead, to their own shame?”
The entire family was involved in worshiping the gods of the land. If we read further, we find that they were mixing these offerings with their offerings to the Lord at the temple,
LXX- 21 Thus says the Lord: “For I did not speak to your fathers, nor command them concerning whole burnt offerings and sacrifices in the day I brought them o the and of Egypt. 22 But I commanded them this word, saying, ‘Listen to My voice, and I will be to you as God, and you shall be to Me as a people. Walk in all My ways I commanded you, that it may be well with you. 23 Yet they did not hear Me and did not attend their ear. Instead, they walked in the devices of their heart and went backward, not forward.
MAS- 22 For I did not speak to your fathers, or command them on the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices. 23 But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you will be My people; and you shall walk entirely in the way which I command you, so that it may go well for you.’ 24 Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked by their own advice and in the stubbornness of their evil hearts, and they went backward and not forward.
Their continued rejection of God’s commands ultimately reaped the whirlwind. Was it God’s doing, His wrath? In an indirect way, yes. Because of the consequences of sin and death, the sin nature pervades all of humanity and nature. God’s commands were designed to help us avoid much of the natural consequences of living in this world. His commands were also designed to foster a relationship between God and each person. Some did, but most didn’t.
If we only understood that His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30), we would trust Him with our lives. He wants only the best for us, which includes a walking, talking, active relationship with Him. He wants to do things WITH us, and to create anew with us. The synthesis between each of us and the Spirit is new! The Father is guaranteed worth getting to know.
Abba, You know our hearts. We would never turn to You were it not for Your sacrifice and Your Spirit calling out to each of us. May we all respond to Your call, accept Your invitation to join You, and receive You into our lives. Daily. Amen.