No Longer

Scripture: Leviticus 17:7, ‘They must no longer offer any of their sacrifices to the goat idols to whom they prostitute themselves. This is to be a lasting ordinance for them and for the generations to come.’

 

Observations: We often think that Israel was predominantly a God-fearing nation, but this verse suggests that wasn’t the case. Chapter 17 deals with sacrifices made in the open fields to ‘goat idols,’ which more than likely was one of the Egyptian gods. While the Jews knew of Yahweh many of them adopted the religious practices of Egypt. God commands them to ‘no longer offer any such sacrifices.’ Rather they are to only offer sacrifices at the Temple to the Lord (v5). Anyone who ignored this law were to be cut off from God’s people (v4). The term ‘prostitute themselves,’ may have been figurative i.e. committing idolatry was like committing adultery, or it may have been literal i.e. they were involved in ritual prostitution as part of their pagan religious practices. These practices were slow to leave Israel’s memory. When the Northern kingdom Israel broke away from Judah under Jeroboam, he rejected the worship of the Lord and set up goat and calf idols (2 Chron 11:15). And centuries later the prophet Ezekiel was still telling God’s people to stop defiling themselves with the idols of Egypt (Ez 20:7).

 

Application: What things have we brought from our old lives that don’t belong in our new life in Christ? Reading God’s word will often convict us of things that we weren’t even aware were sins. When we become aware of such things we should ‘no longer’ do such things. What things do you go back to in times of stress, or weakness? Satan often tempts us with the old familiar sins from our past, what are your goat idols? Every day we need to recommit our desire to live for God and his glory, and confess whatever distracts us from honouring him.

 

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I want to serve You alone, and honour You in thought, word and deed. Lord, reveal to me the attitudes and thoughts and behaviours that belong to my old sinful life that I may no longer walk in those ways, but that I might walk in the way of Your Spirit doing the things that bring You pleasure. Lord, forgive me when I slip into those old habits, wash me clean by the blood of Jesus Christ, and fill me with Your Holy Spirit so that I may be holy as You are holy. In the name of Jesus Christ my Lord I pray. Amen.

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