Today’s Scripture Reading: Leviticus 17:1 through Leviticus 19:37
I wish I had a dollar for every time my kids said, “But Mom, everyone else is doing it!” My children are now parents, but I’m sure they would still testify that telling me “everyone else is doing it” didn’t work for them—and it didn’t work for the children of Israel.
In Leviticus 18:1-2, the Lord said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. I am the Lord your God. So do not act like the people of Egypt, where you used to live, or like the people of Canaan, where I am taking you. You must not imitate their way of life.”
So basically in one sentence, the Lord through Moses told the Israelites, “you aren’t to be like anyone you’ve seen in the past or you will see in the future!” They were God’s chosen people and He wanted them to be different!
Why did I tell my children not to do what everybody was doing?
The same reason God told the Israelites, to protect them.
God knew the plans He had for them (Jeremiah 29:11) and He knew the false gods of the Egyptians and the Canaanites would interfere with those plans.
It’s interesting to me that God prefaced his “sex” talk (18:1-30) with the “everybody’s doing it won’t work” talk. As Larry Richards says in the Bible Reader’s Companion:
“Do as they do” (18:2–3). One of the most common excuses for sexual looseness is, “everyone else does it.” While particularly strong in high school, where many teens are ridiculed for being virgins, our society pressures young and older adults by making sexual promiscuity seem “normal.” God reminded Israel that as His people, they were not to do as the people of Egypt, where they had lived, do. They were not to do as the people of Canaan, where they would live, do. “Everybody else does it” has never been a valid excuse. Because we are God’s people, we are to do as He says, not follow the practices of pagans.
The paganism ( little or no belief in Jehovah God, one who delights in sensual pleasures and material goods: an irreligious or hedonistic person) of the Egyptians and Canaanites is alive and well in today’s culture.
I must confess…
- I have imitated these folks too many times to count!
- I have been interested in sensual pleasures, material goods and hedonism (the pursuit of pleasure and self-gratification).
If I would have been a Jew is those days, I certainly could have been one of those whose bones were left in the desert! I’m thankful for Jesus and the grace He offered me! But I’m sad and have regrets that I fell for the “everybody’s doing it” trick of the enemy of my soul!
Father God, help us to look to Your Word to show us who and what You want us to be. Help us to be like Jesus, not everyone else!
Amen and Amen!
©2013, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Leviticus 20:1 through Leviticus 22:33