God’s Commandments—His Rules Have Reasons

You can learn today what the tribes learned too late.

The names may not sound like much. Names like Beth Shean, Taanach, Megiddo and Gezer. These were cities whose residents the tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim failed to drive away. So what?

God’s Commandments—His Rules Have Reasons

(Photo: Megiddo sat in a strategic spot. Courtesy of Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Why not let the inhabitants live in this region since they wanted it so badly? The Lord knew why. The failure of the tribes to drive out the inhabitants defied God’s commandments to resist the culture. Instead, God’s people tolerated the culture . . . and then embraced it.

Their example urges us to evaluate God’s commandments in our own lives.

His rules have reasons. (And they are good ones.)

The Reasons for Rules

Ephraim and Manasseh refused to drive out the Canaanites in these key cities. These sites dotted the busy international highway that represented the front door to Israel. Not taking control of these cities amounted to not locking one’s doors at night.

This compromise produced disastrous results, just as the Lord had it would:

Their gods will be a constant temptation to you (Judges 2:3, NLT).

God’s Commandments Serve to Protect Us

It always seems easier to mingle with the culture than to oppose its influence—to find the middle ground rather than stand on our own.

But God knows better, and so He commands us:

  • “Do not be conformed to this world.” (Romans 12:2)
  • “Flee immorality.” (1 Corinthians 6:18)
  • “Do not covet.” (Exodus 20:17)
Panorama atop Tel Beth Shean

(Photo: Panorama atop Tel Beth Shean. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Come learn lessons like these in the lands where they happened! Journey with me to the amazing Holy Land on my upcoming trip to Israel. See the details, browse the tour itinerary, and download a FREE brochure! After your journey to Israel, you will never be the same!

God’s Commandments Reveal that All Decisions are Spiritual Ones

Controlling those key cities in Israel meant monitoring key points of entry into their lives. It wasn’t just a military issue.

It was spiritual.

In the same way, we must guard the critical points of entry into our hearts. For example:

  • church doctrine
  • music, television
  • the Internet
  • movies
  • marketing

No doubt, obedience to God’s commandments is tough. It comes at a hard price—but not as hard as the results of compromise.

Just as with the Canaanites, our culture fights to stay entrenched in our hearts—hearts we have given to God. As we consider our culture’s tug today, we must also consider God’s words again:

They will be thorns in your sides, and their gods will be a constant temptation to you.

God knows more of what we need than we know ourselves.

Question: How do you apply God’s commandments to guard against your culture? To leave a comment, just click here.

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This post is adapted from Wayne’s book, Going Places with God: A Devotional Journey Through the Lands of the Bible.

• These 90 devotional readings, each based on a specific place in the lands of the Bible, will help you apply the truths of God’s Word to your daily journey of faith.

• You’ll enjoy pertinent Scripture, inspirational quotes, photographs, maps, and a daily prayer.

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  • Iamsavedru

    Tkank you for todays devotion. I apply God’s commandments to my life by reading His Word and applying it to every aspect of my life, from decision making to standing firm against the evil of this world. I don’t want to ever start a day without first talking to the Lord and asking Him to allow me to enter into whatever He is doing around me and then read His word to find out how I can. God is so awesome that He will help us to follow Him if we just ask.

    •  What a tremendous perspective and plan for each day. Thank you for sharing it.

  • Nfinitychasr

    After learning the pagan roots of many of our common modern Christian holiday traditions, my heart became (slowly) convicted that we should not celebrate them as a family. Last year was our first year of celebrating the biblical feasts and putting all our “mainstream” holiday celebrations aside.  We deal with a lot of disagreement and simple misunderstanding about why we changed our Holi-days (are you Jewish?), and it was really a temporary experiment on our part, but we have learned SO much about biblical history, meaning and symbolism from the Bible concerning the holidays that we have really been blessed and plan to continue.  We belong to a traditional church with all the standard Christmas and Easter celebrations and my eyes have really been opened to ways in which we all can make the celebrations like an idol (you don’t have a tree?  that’s child abuse!). 

    I’ve learned that many, many people have no idea that Christmas was banned by the Puritans because of the raucous pagan celebration it had become (and originated: Dec 25th was the birthday of Mithra, sun-god) and it was even not an U.S holiday until 1870. 

    I admit, I was one of those, “Keep Christ in Christmas” folks not too long ago, but I learned that the whole celebration wasn’t really about Him.  It was a shock,  I felt like Cain, offering God a sacrifice, but in a way that was dishonoring to Him.  My Christian friends say, “but we aren’t worshiping a sun-god, we’re remembering the birth of our Savior”… but I really believe that God wants our family to glorify him in the way that He planned (the feasts) and not in a poor, man-made, Cain-style method of worship.

    •  I’m so glad you feel firm in your convictions about the holidays as well as the Old Testament feasts. I also appreciate that you’re allowing others who don’t share those convictions the freedom to worship God according to the way God is  leading them.

      I think of Paul’s words to the Corinthians when he told them it was okay to eat meat sacrificed to idols, but if someone else had a problem with it– then don’t exercise your freedom in their presence. (Romans 14 is a great chapter on this.)

      It’s interesting that the hymn writers Fanny Crosby and William Booth used secular tunes to accompany their lyrics.They tried to redeem much of what the world has corrupted and celebrate God in sincerity and truth. Many Christians see the holidays in a similar way.

      Thanks so much for your comment. God bless.

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