TO CHEW ON: "'Take heed to yourself, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land where you are going lest it be a snare in your midst.'" Exodus 34:12
A comet, when it enters earth's atmosphere from outer space, is pulled toward the surface by gravity. As it descends, the friction of our atmosphere increases its heat so that it soon burns, leaving a visible trail of gas and vapor to mark its passage. In much the same way sin seems to exert a gravitational pull on our spirits, and in today's reading Moses describes the comet trail of nation's descent into it.
In Exodus 34 God sets before Moses two choices for the Israelites. One is a choice to be loyal to God — thus staying well away from sin's gravitational pull in the first place. The other involves covenanting with the nations of Canaan. When the Israelites do this, Moses warns them of how they will eventually descend into outright idolatry. A covenant with the pagan nations of Canaan will involve these steps:
1. A softening toward idol worship - Exodus 34:12-14.
2. Polite (or curious?) participation ("...eat of his sacrifice...") - Exodus 34:15.
3. Intermarriage - Exodus 34:16.
4. Idolatrous practices entering the family's culture and legacy - Exodus 34:16.
5. Absorption into the mainstream culture as individuals make idols for themselves - Exodus 34:17.
This portrayal of Israel's possible descent into spiritual corruption can serve as caution for us. Some things that we as Christians can beware of and avoid as we seek to be wholly loyal to God in our culture are:
- Intermarrying with non-Christians.
- Dabbling in the occult.
- Participating in practices that have their origins in other religions.
- Allowing our culture's ideal of syncretism to infiltrate our churches and our personal lives.
The warnings, above, are not politically correct — but when did God ever concern Himself with our political correctness, except to warn against it? I would much rather err on the side of caution and inherit God's blessing (Exodus 34:6,7a) than allow my life to enter sin's atmosphere and be pulled down by its gravitational force.
PRAYER: Dear God, since You don't change, I need to take Your warnings to stay away from sin and idolatry very seriously. Please help me, by Your Spirit, to become aware of and root out any idolatrous thing in my life. Amen.
MORE: Christians and yoga.
Is it permissible for Christians to participate in yoga exercises? Here are some articles to read and consider from the writings of Albert Mohler:
Yahoo, Yoga and Yours Truly
The Subtle Body: Should Christians Practice Yoga?
Help from Hindu Quarters — The New York Times on "Take Back Yoga"
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.