Read to Read …Again
Daily Reading: Leviticus 16-18
Therefore shall ye keep mine ordinance, that ye commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am the LORD your God.
God’s ordinances or societal customs? Herein is the conflict for God’s people. To which will His children yield? True, we are no longer under the law of Moses, praise the Lord, but we are under the law of grace. Being under grace we are not to continue in sin. Paul dealt with this in Romans 6:1. What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
The difference between sin and righteousness is often seen in the difference between the Law of God and the customs of the world. While reading this book there is a continual review of His laws and the resulting sentences associated with them. Sometimes death, sometimes banishment, sometimes simply bearing one’s own iniquity.
Let’s say for the purpose of illustration that God’s Word plainly states that we should not eat peanut butter. Don’t look at it, don’t smell it, don’t taste it. It is abominable, this thing called peanut butter. Yet, let’s also say that the custom of the world is to share a peanut butter cracker with anyone you meet, like shaking hands, except those meeting would eat a peanut butter cracker. To eat of it is socially acceptable, but to not eat of it is acceptable with God. Which would a person choose? “I don’t want to offend others by not sharing in the peanut butter eating.” Or, “I don’t want to break God’s law.”
This, of course, is an oversimplification but it paints a picture. This is often the real-life struggle for God’s people. Always has been and always will be.
Thank God for verses like I Corinthians 10:13 which contains a promise that I do not think the Old Testament saints had, at least not one that is so clear cut. That verse states: There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. God’s promise is that for every temptation there is a way of escape.
Look for the escape hatch. It’s there. Ask God to show it to you. He will. In the corporate world there is much pressure to “fit in” and not offend. Same in families, colleges, frankly everywhere. Children of God are to carefully navigate the customs and traditions of this world as to be relevant yet not violate God’s laws of righteousness and holiness. After all, Peter communicated this to the New Testament saints in I Peter 1:15-16. But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. Yes, God’s people live in a world filled with abominable customs, yet they do not have to yield to them, and when faced with this struggle God has promised to make a way of escape. Just look for it and take it.
William T. Howe Ph.D.