God has proclaimed to Moses that He will do great wonders among His people. There was one stipulation however; and we can find it in Exodus 34: 11 – 14: Obey what I command you today. I will drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you. Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and cut down their Asherah poles. Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”
Thank you for joining our ongoing, chronological bible study held every Thursday called COME AS A CHILD. Today we are studying Exodus; Chapter 34. If you missed last weeks lesson; you may find it here: https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/giving-thanks-covenant-keeping-god/
GOD HAS REQUIREMENTS OF HIS PEOPLE
For God to keep His promises; the people were requested to obey Him. How were they to obey Him? They were not to have any other gods before Him. This is reiterated later in the giving of the whole set of commandments.
God requires obedience.
God requires fidelity.
When the people were obedient and true to God; God always made sure they were very blessed and protected from their enemies.
DO NOT MAKE A TREATY WITH THOSE LIVING IN THE LAND
When God refers to the other people living in the land where Israel was going, He notes that they could become a “snare” among them if they made a treaty with them.
A snare is a type of rope knot that is used in hunting. The animal steps into the rope loop and becomes entangled. When they try to pull away the rope is designed to become tighter and tighter each time they try to get loose. Snares are impossible to escape.
This is just what God was saying could happen. If the Israelites became involved enough with the people living in the land who were totally pagan in nature; they would become trapped. If they tried to escape they would only become more securely trapped.
Making a treaty is to accept something that goes against your will or nature. If the Israelites decided to make a treaty with the pagans living very wicked and immoral lives; soon they too would find those wicked, immoral things seeping into their own families; a little here and a little there until finally it would consume them; and they would forget all of God’s ways and resort to once again following the wrong pagan ways of the world.
God warned them not to do this.
EACH GENERATION OF PEOPLE HAVE HAD TO LEARN THE SAME LESSON
The New Testament scriptures speak of practically the same thing in a different time in the passage found in 2 Timothy 3:1-6 which says: “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.
Know anyone with any of the above traits? Be careful how you point them out. Most of us don’t have to look further than right under our own noses to find some of these ungodly traits.
THE SCRIPTURES SAY DEALING WITH SUCH THINGS IS DIFFICULT
Both the Old and New Testament scriptures say to avoid such ungodly people. But wait just a minute; isn’t this very act in itself ungodly? Aren’t we supposed to treat ALL people good?
What about all that very popular talk about turning the other cheek?
What about loving your enemies? Isn’t this one of the messages of Jesus?
How are we to interpret such scriptures that seem to contradict other parts of the bible? What are we to make of this and how do we truly handle such situations in a godly way?
BE THE SALT AND THE LIGHT; AVOID THE SNARES
It seems when we begin to the get to the heart of the matter that God is saying “Do not compromise on the things that I am telling you – never, not once. If you do; the snare will tighten on you and you will be completely caught.
Just a little bit of sin here and there usually adds up to a great big sin in the end. You become conditioned to your environment and what seemed wrong at first doesn’t seem so harmful eventually. Everyone around you is doing it; so why shouldn’t you?
When people let this condition fall into place in their culture and their daily living; where they compromise on the things of God and give in to the things of the world; there is a downward spiral that never stops until you hit rock bottom.
It is just like the snare in the rope; you are like a caged animal when you become conditioned to certain sins; especially the sins of idolatry. You become caught and there seems to be no way out.
The best practice is to not go there in the first place.
Stay away from all sin.
You can still love your enemy and not participate in their sinfulness. You can still turn the other cheek and not accept and/or practice the wrong practices. Jesus showed us the way. He did this perfectly. We can do it too if we make up our minds to try. There are times that we all will suffer for the sins of those around us; it is inevitable; but we do not have to be part of the problem that brought the sin there in the first place. Our part is to influence things for the better; and not contribute to the ever-growing progress of evil.
SALT HEALS AND LIGHT REVEALS THE TRUTH
How do you counter evil and wickedness in the world? You do not join in.
You choose to become the salt and the light. Salt heals and light reveals the truth. When the truth is revealed; you can always see how it comes from God.
This passage today says “do not make a treaty with them.” I have heard it put a different way. Here in the south we sometimes say “do not shake hands with the devil!” Do not make deals with wickedness and evil and you will not have to worry about things encroaching on you and spoiling your life.
There on the mountain; God was showing Moses a better way to live.
God never changes. The message is still the same today as it was all those thousands of years ago; God looks after and protects those who are obedient to Him and are careful to follow and keep His ways.