Select Wisdom Brand

No Place Like Home

Numbers 25:1-3
While Israel lived in Shittim, the people began to whore with the daughters of Moab. These invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel yoked himself to Baal at Peor. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel.

Whether this land of Shittim was a city full of Sphinx and ziggurats and skyscrapers reaching to heaven, or just a backwater town with a blinking stoplight, a gas station, and a gravel road, it was an oasis to these pilgrims whose hearts continued to pine after the world. To them, anything is better than belonging to the true and living God. Slavery in Egypt, genocidal edicts that demand their newborn sons, golden calves they fashion themselves, strange new gods they find in neighboring towns; whatever the hook, they’ll bite!

I just had a heart-to-heart conversation with a Christian friend who finally hit rock bottom in his pornography addiction, and he explained how the excruciating exposure has been the catalyst needed for change. He described sin so transparently in this way: “I knew there was a hook behind the lure, but for years I only tasted the juicy worm and never felt the hook. Now, the worm is gone—it was always a mirage anyway—and all that remains is the hook day after day. I’m living every day in the mercy of God now, and I sense His presence more than ever, but the stinging pain continues to linger.”

Maybe some of these Israelites initially went to the party out of a sense of good will, not wanting to offend their neighbors—not caring that they might be offending a holy God. Maybe they said to themselves, “It’s just a one-time thing—I’ll pay my dues, be a little open-minded, earn some street cred with the locals, and then I’ll go back to my sacramental responsibilities.” But that ill-advised compromise turned into a little more drinking, and a little more revelry, and a little more partying, till the drunkenness finally led them to their knees in a pledge of allegiance to demon gods.

Friend, don’t be gentlemanly with temptation! Don’t be neighborly with the devil! It’s better to offend the whole world to whom you owe nothing than to offend a holy God to Whom you owe everything!