The Israelites were between a rock and a hard place, coming out of the Egyptian culture of worshiping many gods, they were then about to enter into the land of Canaan with their cultures and idols. God was preparing His people by acculturating them into His ways, laws, precepts and ordinances. They were to forsake the culture they came out of and not to follow the prevailing customs and practices of the Canaanites. They were to follow God, not their past, not their present.
The world and the devil always provide us with choices and alternatives. The Israelites could offer sacrifices to the goats (emblems of Satan) or they could offer sacrifices to the Lamb of God (symbolized by the sacrifices at the altar of God). They could eat the lifeblood of animals and defiled the ground; or they could partake of the blood of the Lamb. They could do things according to previous culture or the prevailing culture, or they could obey God’s ways and culture. For many Chinese believers who have immigrated to North America, it is always a struggle as to keep the culture of their country of origin, to try to be acculturated into the host culture, or to shun all alternatives and stick to the ways of God.
The Israelites were taught to abide by the Word of God and not by the culture of the land. The other people had their own gods and their cultures were greatly affected by their beliefs. The Israelites were God’s people and they had a different God, Jehovah. While other people were true to their gods and idols, why could the Israelites be true to their own God? All cultures reflect the worldviews and value systems of their own beliefs. To enter into a culture without knowing the gods and beliefs behind it is dangerous. Seeking for alternatives is the way the devil lures us away from our own faith.
The psalmist compares the benefits of being in God and the horrors of forsaking God and looking for alternatives. In God, there are good things: mercy, protection, security, and His wondrous love as He brings us into His secret hiding place and keeps us in His holy tabernacle. To be out of God, we have to face the schemes of the enemy, the strife of the tongue and fear. That is why you have to choose God any day without thinking about the alternatives.
Are you facing any difficulties in your life? Are you tempted to seek out human ways for help? Do you love God? Choose God, not the alternatives. When you say you love God, you must choose Him above everything else. It is God’s way and no other way. He is your Lord, there is no good things beside Him. Believe it and ask Him to forgive your lack of faith. Bring all your troubles to Him and see His loving and powerful hands take them from your own hands. Remember, there is no alternative!
Ps 31:19-24 Lev 16:29-18:30 Mark 7:24-8:10 Prov 10:15-16