"When you enter the land which the LORD your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations.Deuteronomy 18:9(NASB)
Before entering the Promised Land, Israel was instructed to remain separate from the pagan people they would encounter there. They were to behave differently from the despicable Canaanites who already inhabited the land that God had promised to Abraham as a perpetual inheritance.
In this verse, they were warned not to intermingle with the local inhabitants. They were not to learn their horrible traditions or participate in any of their ungodly practices: "When you enter the land, which the LORD your God gives you," Moses commanded, "you shall not learn their ways or imitate the detestable things of those nations."
God had provided Israel with their own feast days and festivals which honoured Him. He had established the Tabernacle and Levitical priesthood, and carefully instructed them on all the sacrificial practices they needed to undertake to cover their sin until the Messiah came.
He had diligently laid out every requirement for His people in the Mosaic Law, which consisted of the Moral Law, the Ceremonial Law, and the Civil Law. These were to be the only customs that governed the lives of His chosen people, which God intended as a signpost to point other nations to Christ.
There were 613 commands in the Mosaic Law, and when any of these laws were broken by an individual or group, atonement had to be made through a blood sacrifice. The shed blood of every sacrificial animal slaughtered during Israel's journey through history, covered their sin for a season and pointed to Christ, the promised Messiah Whose offering of Himself was to be the full and final sacrifice for the sin of the whole world.
Israel were to learn God's ways and obey His commands. They were not to follow after the detestable practices, abhorrent customs, and satanic activities of any other nation. Their disgusting ways were an abomination to the Lord, and His people were never to engage in these despicable things which included child sacrifices, witchcraft, divination, sorcery, cannibalism, and the worship of demons - to name a few.
These pagan people were dead in their sin, at enmity with God, and enslaved by Satan. They were never to be a role-model for God's servants. Rather, Israel were to be an example to them and point them to the one true and living God.
Since the fall, the whole world has been lying under the control of the evil one, but God chose Israel out of all the nations to be a peculiar people who were to behave differently from Gentile nations. They were to obey HIS perfect law and followed HIS righteous ways. Israel's way of life and standard of conduct was to become a light to lighten the Gentiles, and they were to bring others into fellowship with the God of Israel.
We should not disregard the serious nature of the abhorrent practices described in Deuteronomy, simply because these were carried out in ancient times. There are many equally detestable customs and abominable exploits that take place in our modern culture which God hates, and having been saved by grace through faith, we are no longer enslaved by Satan's power but have been redeemed from the penalty of sin and set free from its power over our lives.
May we renounce all evil practices and the enticements and snares of the world, the flesh, and the devil, and live lives that are holy to the Lord by being lights in the darkened world so that others may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven.
Heavenly Father, please keep me spiritually aware of the devious way I can be pulled back into worldly customs and attitudes, and may I be quick to renounce all that is evil and any fleshly activities that would cause me to drift into ungodly pursuits. May I abhor that which is evil and cleave to that which is good, for Your greater praise and glory. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.
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