It’s becoming harder and harder I think for the faithfulness of the heart in relationships. But it’s not that it wasn’t hard back in ancient times. A trip to Hazor in Israel and seeing large statues of the phallus and heavy chested goddesses didn’t make it easy for them either. And Capernaum? And the “gates of hell” shall not stand against you? The cliff sides are covered with erotic imagery. Every day it was available and in your face to see.
The gods then and the gods now are the same. They “gods” invite people to compromise any other belief for the sake of sexual liberty, financial security, and social significance. That’s pretty much it. But those things–sex, money and signficance are very, very strong.
The Israelites had come from slavery in Egypt. And they had wandered 40 years in the desert. Now they were going to enter a land where the gods of Baal, the many-breasted Asherah, the evil god of Molech and more were worshiped. No doubt they were going to be tempted to compromise away from their covenant with the Lord.
But the Lord was driving out the people of the land because of their evil worship. And if the Israelites left the Lord and did the same as the peoples He was driving out? Unthinkable. On many levels.
Therefore he told them…
“Be careful to do as the LORD your God has commanded you; you are not to turn aside to the right or the left. Follow the whole instruction the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live, prosper and have a long life in the land you possess… (Deut 5:32-33)
“Listen, Israel: The LORD our God, The LORD is One. Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” (Deut 6:4).
In fact, this summarized up the first 4-5 commandments of the Ten Commandments: Love the Lord and have no other before Him. It’s the summation of the Law when added to loving one another.
It’s a covenant relationship they were in. The Lord and Israel had made a covenant together. And just as a marriage expects not just exclusivity and turning away of all others, but rather an intentional effort towards actively loving. Passive love typically brings drift. So he call them:
Pursue me with everything you have. And here’s how you can do that. Through sacrifice and worship. But more importantly through consecrating your hearts towards me.
And the same holds true today. We worship him, we give to him, we honor him with our lives and pursue him with our hearts, our minds and our souls.
We do this for love for Him.
And we do this for our covenant.