We have the idea that we can join ourselves as children of God with the things of the world and not be changed and influenced spiritually. The truth is that when we join ourselves with the pursuit of the world, we cheapen and offend God’s love and sacrifice for us…
1 While Israel was staying in Shittim, the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women, 2 who invited them to the sacrifices to their gods. The people ate the sacrificial meal and bowed down before these gods. 3 So Israel yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor. And the Lord’s anger burned against them.
14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“I will live with them
and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they will be my people.”
“Come out from them
and be separate,
says the Lord.
Touch no unclean thing,
and I will receive you.”
“I will be a Father to you,
and you will be my sons and daughters,
says the Lord Almighty.”
God’s desire was for Israel to be pure and set apart for God only. They were/are his children and he their father. His commands were to love him and serve him only (Exodus 20:3). It’s probably important to point out that this wasn’t a racist or supremacist ideology. God was equally clear that when a foreigner joined Israel, they were to welcome them into God’s family (Leviticus 19:34, Deuteronomy 10:19, Exodus 22:21).
People could join Israel and join them in serving and worshiping God. The problem came when God’s children joined other nations and worshiped their gods. We have this idea, which is not supported in God’s teaching, that we can join ourselves as children of God with the things of the world and not be changed and influenced by them spiritually.
We don’t understand the nature of spiritual influence like we should. We even minimize its importance in our lives. We assess risk and harm from a physical and relational perspective and often miss how our behaviour and our consumption of the world affect us spiritually. All the while, God knows that the battle for our souls plays out in the realm of spirits, principalities, and powers (Ephesians 6:12).
These Israelites, just like the Corinthian church, thought they could yoke themselves with unbelievers (those who don’t believe and follow the Lord) and not be impacted. In both cases, the impact was that the unbelievers were not led to join in serving the Lord, but the follower of God was led to serve the false idol god of the world.
When we start serving idols and false gods of our worldly relationships, we move away from the God who rescued us from slavery – from Egypt in the case of Israel and from our sin and worldliness as Christians. Jesus died for this.
When we join ourselves with the pursuit of the world, we cheapen and offend God’s love and sacrifice for us.
Where in your life have you aligned yourself with those who do not serve God to the point where you are pulled away from God? In friendship circles? In business dealings? In romance? In marriage? God’s heart on these matters has not changed from the time of Moses to the time of Jesus to today…