“They did not destroy the peoples concerning whom the Lord had commanded them, but they mingled [mixed, united, blend in] with the Gentiles and learned their works [adopted their customs], and served their idols, which became a snare to them. They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons . . . they were defiled [polluted] by their own works, and played the harlot by their own deeds. Therefore the wrath of the Lord was kindled against them . . . their enemies also oppressed them” (emphasis added).
Notice the progression or domino effect of Israel’s disobedience. Disobedience blinds the heart to sin’s consequences and compromise becomes a way of life until you finally do wicked things that you never dreamed of doing. Sin never remains static; like a powerful acid, it erodes everything it touches until uselessness and total destruction are inevitable and irrevocable.
Part of Moses’ instructions regarding entry into the promise land had to do with eliminating those whom the LORD would deliver over to them. He ways, “Your eye shall have no pity on them; nor shall you serve their gods, for that will be a snare to you” (Deuteronomy 7:16). Pride in the heart of man causes him to think that he can disobey God and somehow avoid negative consequences.
The writer of Psalm 106 uses Israel’s past experiences to teach the exiles returning to Israel the importance of complete obedience. Israel’s disobedience also teaches believers today the importance of keeping short accounts with sin and nipping sin in the bud.
Questions for today’s Chronological Bible reading:
- How does this Psalm describe the children of Israel? (follow all of the “they” statements)
- Who are the two intercessors mentioned in this Psalm?
- How do their roles as intercessors differ? (Read Exodus 32:1-14 and Numbers 25:1-13 for context)
- What moves God to act on Israel’s behalf? What does this tell you about God?
- How is Ezra described?
- What does Ezra devote himself to and how does that affect his usefulness to God?
- How is King Artaxerxes described and what does he understand about God and the Jewish people?
- How are those who come into contact with the Jewish people to treat them?
- How does God use a secular king to accomplish his purposes? Who are some of the other kings that God raises up to bless Israel to judge Israel?
- Who all does Ezra gather to accompany him to Israel?
Turning truth into prayer
Thank the Lord that He is able to work through secular authorities. Pray for your mayor, congressmen, and president today. Ask the Lord to accomplish His purposes through them. Ask the Lord to make them aware of His role in the affairs of man and to awaken in them a need for God’s guidance. Pray for your pastor that he will know and love the Word of God. Ask the Lord to give you a greater desire to know and love His Word.