by Rev Joel Yong
This is what the LORD says: Don’t learn the practices of the nations. Don’t be frightened by the signs in the sky because the nations are frightened by them. The religion of the people is worthless. Woodcutters cut down trees from the forest. The hands of craftsmen prepare them with axes. Craftsmen decorate them with silver and gold and fasten them together with hammers and nails so that they won’t fall over. These trees are like scarecrows in cucumber gardens. They aren’t able to speak. They have to be carried, because they can’t walk. Don’t be afraid of them. They can’t harm you. They can’t do you any good either. No one is like you, O LORD. You are great. Your name is powerful. Everyone fears you, O King of the Nations. This is what you deserve. No one is like you among all the wise people in the nations or in all their kingdoms.
The Israelites were purposed to be God’s light – living a way of life that exemplified what it meant to follow God.
They were meant to STAND OUT for God.
But instead of doing so, they became just like the surrounding nations.
They followed in their idolatrous ways.
It’s a lesson we should pay attention to, even today.
Have we become like the rest?
Or do we stand out for God?
Now I don’t mean – that we stick out like a sore thumb in society.
But we need to hold on to the distinctives of our faith- and ALL of it rather than some.
For example – the Bible teaches us about a Truth- Love balance.
We speak truth and yet show love.
If we only hold onto the distinctive of love (ignoring truth) , then we end up saying “It’s okay- God will understand.” when it’s not so – and that such a way of living will destroy a person and our society.
Then we cease to shine as the light that God calls us to be- condoning sin and misleading the people around us.
But if we only hold onto the distinctive of truth (ignoring love) then we would be overly concerned about being right all the time and the expense of not exemplifying the love that God teaches us to show!
Then we cease to resemble our Lord Jesus and present an inaccurate picture of His Good News for the world!
That Jesus came to bring us life and life in abundance!
Life change is possible through Jesus Christ our Lord, Son of God and Savior of the world!
He died that our mistakes might not have a hold over us and we can live a transformed life through the power of the Spirit.