“When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations.” Deuteronomy 18:9 ESV
What is our “land” the Lord has given to us, as Christians? It is our spiritual inheritance. It is our salvation from slavery to sin and it is eternal life with God. So, as we enter into relationship with Almighty God, via divinely persuaded and God-given faith in Jesus Christ, we are not to learn the abominable practices of the nations, i.e. of the sinful world around us.
And, what are some of those practices? Lying is a BIG ONE! Lying has become so commonplace, even among Christians, only they often will call them “white lies” so as to make them sound more acceptable. But a lie is still a lie. And, withholding truth from those to whom it is due is also a lie, and/or to purposefully lead someone to believe an untruth is also a lie.
And, what are abominable practices? They are any practices (habits, persistent conducts, and lifestyles) which are offensive, repulsive and detestable to Almighty God. And, the scriptures list many of these for us in multiple places (Gal. 5:16-21; Eph. 5:3-6; Rom. 1:18-32; Prov. 6:16-19).
At the top of pretty much every list is sexual immorality of many kinds, followed closely by idolatry. Sexual immorality is mentioned 47 times in the Bible, and 41 of those are in the New Testament. Lust is mentioned 23 times, 5 of which are in the NT. Adultery is mentioned 39 times, 20 of which are in the NT. Lewdness is mentioned 15 times, all in the OT, and there are many other references using other terminology to say the same thing.
And, idols and idolatry are mentioned 157 times in the Bible, and 30 of those are in the New Testament. But, any of these sins mentioned here can be our idols if we make them our habits, our practices. And, anything which takes precedence over God in our lives can also be our idol, especially where we choose what we want over and above what God wants for us, his children.
As well, our traditions can be our idols, and our religious rites and practices can be, too. Our religious holidays, as well, can be idols if they take precedence over God and the teachings of His Word, and if we choose them over warnings in scripture against such as these, particularly having to do with the mixing of the celebrations of other gods along with celebrating the One True God. Christmas, I believe, falls into that category.
Gossip, slander, arrogance, maliciousness, hate, envy, faithlessness, and fits of anger (rage), etc. are also listed. And in addition to this, in Proverbs 6 we are given a list of 7 things that are an abomination to the Lord: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush to evil, a false witness who pours out lies, and a person who sows discord among the family of God.
Regarding sexual immorality, Jesus said that we commit adultery when we look at another person with lust in our hearts. And, lust doesn’t have to be sexual in nature, either, for women are usually more prone to romanticize a relationship with another man than to dream of having sex with him, at least it used to be that way. And, men are more prone toward sexual thoughts, though they have romantic affairs, too.
So, sexual immorality and/or adultery can take many different forms. Viewing pornography is a BIG ONE these days, especially since the invention of the Internet and home computers, and especially since Smart Phones are now in the hands of pretty much everyone, including young children. Oh, how I hate that!
Looking at porn, too, is not just entertainment. It is looking at another with lust, and thus Jesus said it is adultery, and it is against God first of all, then it is against our spouses, if we are married. And, it is against the men and women who are being viewed, too, for it is objectifying them, and it is treating them with disdain. And, it is treating our spouses with hatred and disdain, too. And, this is usually magnified by lies to cover up the adultery.
“You shall be blameless before the Lord your God, for these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune-tellers and to diviners. But as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do this.” Deut. 18:13-14 ESV
So, how do we become blameless before the Lord? Well, first of all we must believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives. And, we must apply what he did for us on the cross to our own lives by dying with him to sin and living with him to his righteousness, in the power and working of God’s Spirit (Lu. 9:23-26; Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
And, we must walk (in practice, in lifestyle) by the Spirit, according to (in agreement with) the Spirit, and not according to our sinful flesh, if we want to be blameless before God and to have eternal life with God (Rom. 8:1-17).
We are not to live the way we did before we believed in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives. But now, in the power of God’s Spirit, we are to put away those things of the flesh, and we are to put on Christ and his righteousness, and we are to live holy and godly lives, pleasing to God. We are to no longer be conformed to the ways of this sinful world, but we are to be transformed of the Spirit of God in heart and mind away from what is sinful and to our Lord to follow him in obedience to his commands.
[See: Lu. 1:5-6; Phil. 1:8-11; Phil. 2:12-16; Col. 1:21-23; 1 Thess. 2:10; 1 Thess. 5:14-23; 1 Tim. 3:8-10; Jude 1:17-25; Rev. 14:1-5; Ps. 19:13.]
“The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen— just as you desired of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’ And the Lord said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.” Deut. 18:15-19 ESV
This was a prophecy of scripture regarding the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Only he wasn’t and isn’t just a prophet. He is God, and so he speaks the very words of God, because that is who he is.
And, so we are to listen to Him because he is God and he is from God, for he is the only begotten Son of God. But, it isn’t just his words recorded for us in the Gospels that we are to listen to, for he is the author of all scripture. And all Scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.
Yet, we as Christians are not under the Old Covenant. We are under the New Covenant Relationship God has with the church, the body of Christ. So, we don’t have to obey all the old Jewish customs and ceremonial and purification laws. But, we still have to adhere to God’s moral laws, for they are repeated under the New Covenant. And, obedience to his commands is also required under the New Covenant for salvation from sin and eternal life with God (Jn. 8:51; Jn. 14:23-24; Rom. 6:16; 1 Jn. 2:3-6; Jas. 1:21-25).
But, if we don’t listen to the Lord, and we don’t obey his commands, and we go our own way instead, even if we profess faith in him, we will lose our lives for eternity. We will not be saved from our sins or have eternal life with God, for we are all going to reap what we sow. If we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction (decay, death). But, if by the Spirit we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life (Lu. 9:23-26; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:16-21; Gal. 6:7-8; Eph. 5:3-6; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
So, take God at his word. Listen to the words of Jesus. Listen to the instructions given to us in the New Testament under the New Covenant. And, don’t JUST listen to them, but do what they say. Walk in obedience to your Lord, follow him in his ways, and you will reap eternal and spiritual blessings. You will know a love that is far greater than any you have known before and a God who cares about you so much that he wants you to be his, and for you to partake with him in his plans for your life, which are the Best!
You Loved Me
An Original Work / December 3, 2019
A song based off the poem by the same name
When I was lonely and afflicted,
You were there to pick me up.
You took me in Your arms,
And You held me tenderly.
Your love embraced me.
Your grace sustained me.
When my heart cried out to You
In my fear and my despair,
You never turned away,
But You let me know You loved me.
Your grace forgave me.
You did not shame me.
Then, when I answered the call,
“Here, Lord, send me.”
You sent me to where I must be.
Your mercy held me, did not fail me.
All this, You had planned, to use me.
And, when all trials and scorn
Came to test me.
You gave me all that I would need.
You strengthened me so I’d not fail You.
Your kindness blessed me, it touched me.
And, when I needed the church
To lift up me,
To hearten me so I’d not fail,
You blessed me with folks who would love me.
Their presence with me, Your praise hailed!
And, when I walked through the valley
Of the shadow of the death,
And tears flowed from my eyes,
Still Your kindness was there for me.
Your touch, it healed me.
For I believed You.
When now I think about the ways,
Of the many, many ways
That You in Your great love
Show me that You’ll always care for me,
My heart, it thanks You,
And gladness fills me, fills me.