Friday, March 10, 2017

Our necessary separation

"The blessing of Abraham" by Julius Schnorr
"The blessing of Abraham" by Julius Schnorr
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Genesis 12:1-20

TO CHEW ON: “Now the LORD had said to Abraham:
‘Get out of your country,
From your family
And from your father’s house,
To a land I will show you.’” Genesis 12:1

Why did Abraham need to live his country / family / father’s house? One reason was certainly to separate himself from the idolatry that had infiltrated his clan. A sidebar article in my study Bible explains:
“Genesis 12:1-3 indicates that God separated Abraham from his idolatrous family in order to make him and his descendants the messianic nation which would bring salvation to all earth’s families” - Dick Mills, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 20.

The theme of God wanting His people to be separate from their idol-worshiping neighbors runs through the Old Testament.
  • Moses told the Israelites to utterly annihilate the idolatrous Canaanites when they entered the promised land - Deuteronomy 7:2.
  • Joshua, the leader who followed Moses, told the people at his farewell address to not let the names of the Canaanite gods even cross their lips - Joshua 23:7.
  • Israel failed utterly in this. In Judges we have the playing out of their disobedient mercy. As a result: “They  (the idolatrous nations) shall be thorns in your sides and their gods shall be a snare to you” - Judges 2:2,3.
  • Intermingling of Israel with idol-worshiping people carried on. We see examples in the lives of Kings Solomon (1 Kings 3:1), Ahab (1 Kings 20:32), and Hezekiah (2 Kings 20:13), until finally the remnant of the Israelites who remained were taken into exile.
  • Years later, on their return to the land, their leader Ezra attempted to reinforce that separation from the heathen people and practices that continued to plague them - Ezra 9:1, 12:10,11.

In the New Testament, though, Peter had a vision where he was commanded to eat unclean foods and interpreted this as God showing him that no man was common or unclean - Acts 10:28. Does that mean all barriers are down? The nation of Israel has played her role in giving the world Jesus the Messiah. And Jesus certainly died for all and invites anyone and everyone of whatever race, creed, or religion to Him for salvation - John 3:16.

But sin is still just as dangerous, contagious, sneaky, and sly. And so for us too, the principle of separation from all that is opposed to God still applies. Does the old saw we bandy about so freely actually apply here: “Love the sinner but hate the sin”?
  • We are not to be yoked together with unbelievers - 2 Corinthians 6:14.
  • We are to stay away from the “unfruitful works of darkness” - Ephesians 5:11.
  • We are to withdraw from the disorderly Christian brother - 2 Thessalonians 3:6.
  • John tells us “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” 1 John 2:15.
Separation from sin, the world, and the idols of our time is still a necessary aspect of our Kingdom of Heaven citizenship:
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (KJV)

PRAYER: Dear Father, please teach me how to live in the world but not of it, to love everyone but hate and avoid sin wherever it makes an appearance. Amen.

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.

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