Reading the Word
Psalm 106:32–39 (ESV)
32 They angered him at the waters of Meribah, and it went ill with Moses on their account, 33 for they made his spirit bitter, and he spoke rashly with his lips. 34 They did not destroy the peoples, as the Lord commanded them, 35 but they mixed with the nations and learned to do as they did. 36 They served their idols, which became a snare to them. 37 They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons; 38 they poured out innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was polluted with blood. 39 Thus they became unclean by their acts, and played the whore in their deeds.
Understanding and Applying the Word
The Israelites grumbled and complained about many things as God led them out of Egypt. One of those things was water. Moses, who became angry with the people, spoke harshly with them as he struck a rock, which God had provided to produce water for the people. As a result, Moses was not permitted to enter the Promised Land. Afterwards, when the people did finally enter the land, they were disobedient and intermingled with the people of the land. They began to worship the idols of the Canaanites.
God’s instruction for Israel was to remain distinct from the other people of the world. Why? So that the Israelites might be a witness to the one true God. They were to live differently so that the surrounding nations would quickly notice that they worshiped YHWH and not one of the pagan idols. Unfortunately, the Israelites adopted the ways of the people and struggled to be a witness to the world.
We often fail just like the Israelites. We are to be holy and distinct, but our lives are often much like everyone else’s. Let us pray that God would help us to live in such a way that everyone knows that we belong to him and so that we can have an effective witness in our world.
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