Warning, Will Rogers!

“When the Lord your God goes ahead of you and destroys the nations and you drive them out and live in their land, do not fall into the trap of following their customs and worshiping their gods. Do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations worship their gods? I want to follow their example.’ You must not worship the Lord your God the way the other nations worship their gods, for they perform for their gods every detestable act that the Lord hates. They even burn their sons and daughters as sacrifices to their gods. (Deuteronomy 12:29-31)

When God took Israel into the Promised Land, he gave these instructions, but what makes them so important for us to keep in mind today? The first instruction we see here is really one of understanding the 'extreme protection' that exists for a child of God. God - the Lord your God - goes ahead of us to drive out our enemy and his evil forces. The place for God in battle is ahead of us, not alongside or behind us. When God is given his rightful place in our lives, the enemy scatters - he cannot exist where the holiness of God presides!

Secondly, there is to be an active 'resistance' of the enemy in our lives - we are to be 'driving him out', not just allowing him to lollygag around us. There is an 'aggressiveness' pictured here - we aren't passive in our beliefs, but rather aggressive in our pursuit. What happens when there is passivity in our walk? We get caught up in the enemy's ploys - we 'blend in' rather than standing out. God has always asked his children to 'stand out' - we live in this world, but we don't become like this world. We don't adopt beliefs and practices that God clearly tells us to avoid.

Third, we must learn to not question God's authority or position in our lives. When God told them to not inquire about their unholy worship practices, it was because he knew there would be a pull toward other 'authorities'. Truth be told, we are constantly being 'sold a bill of goods' when it comes to what Satan wants us to believe about who he is, how he acts, and what his purposes are in this world. He wants to convince us God isn't 'enough' - that we need something more, different, or better - that God is somehow keeping us from enjoying stuff. Don't embrace the lies - this is what God is trying to tell us.

Lastly, God never asks for us to 'perform for him'. He desires a sincerity of relationship - be honest with him, be open to him, and be in love with him. When these things exist in our lives, there is no room for 'performance' - genuine relationship replaces the need to 'perform'. God wants us safe, but we guard against wandering into beliefs and practices that take us away from that place of ultimate safety. We don't 'guard alone', though. We have been given his Word as a weapon, his Spirit as a tutor and guide, and his presence as a place of refuge when needed. Just sayin!

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