Joshua 23:11-13 (ESV)
11 Be very careful, therefore, to love the Lord your God. 12 For if you turn back and cling to the remnant of these nations remaining among you and make marriages with them, so that you associate with them and they with you, 13 know for certain that the Lord your God will no longer drive out these nations before you, but they shall be a snare and a trap for you, a whip on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from off this good ground that the Lord your God has given you.
Throughout the Old Testament, God constantly reminded Israel not to intermarry with the peoples of the land. This call from God had nothing to do with modern racism, putting people down simply because of their ethnicity. Instead, God’s call not to intermarry with the people of the land was always focused on the fact that the people of the land worshipped false gods and those marriages would lead God’s people astray.
My thoughts this evening [last Saturday] are not so much focused on marriage. This is strange, as I’m actually in my van on the way home from a wedding. So, perhaps I’m just weddinged out.
Without pondering weddings, then, is there anything we can learn from the text above? How about this: God told the people that, were they to intermarry, they would be led astray and lose the favor of God that they had been experiencing. If they were to bring pagan living into their households, they were going to make themselves enemies of God. Thus, bringing false religion into their homes was tantamount to declaring war on God.
OK, here comes the pointed application—ready? What do you allow into your life on a daily basis that has the potential to lead you away from God? What do you, by your own choice, bring into your life that will dampen your love of God and your commitment to his glory first and foremost?
We live in such a culture of false beliefs, false religion, false sources of joy that it is almost impossible not to be tainted or corrupted by the faulty values espoused. Whether it is entertainment or simply the newspaper, the culture we live in sets itself in opposition to God and his law. If we allow ourselves to remain immersed in the bad thinking of the culture, we will be led astray just as much as were the Israelites who eventually intermarried with the pagans of the land.
What can you do to fix this? You cannot remove yourself from the world; you have to live here. You cannot avoid all bad input. However, you can be careful, think clearly, and set important guards up in your life to help you to avoid being led to think like the world. Besides avoiding evil, the positive side of this is to regularly fill your mind with that which honors God. Think on that which is honoring to God, and you will find yourself not enjoying the filth of the world (Phil 4:8).
[Six Days later]
Now I’m home from Together for the Gospel, and I have seen even more of the truth of my above thoughts. O how wonderful it was to take 3 days of life to be with 7,000 friends, all of whom were singing with gusto the doctrinally-driven, emotionally-rich, glory-filled praises of the Lord. We sang. We heard the word of God preached again and again and again. We talked about gospel things. As we did all of this, the darker influences of the world, the coarse humor, the sinful desires, they seemed to fade away. It was as if we who are believers were going into detox and finding ourselves cleansed, refilled with gospel joy, and set loose to bring this joy back to our churches. Christians, you will find joy as you turn from evil and fill your heart, set your mind, on that which glorifies the Lord.