Monday, December 19, 2016

Doing the Religious Mix - Martin Wiles

Then our ancestors joined in the worship of Baal at Peor; they even ate sacrifices offered to the dead! Psalm 106:28 NLT

I suppose Timmy thought no one would notice—and they didn’t. 

A church I once pastored decided to host a wild game supper since no church in our immediate area had one. Timmy was a friend who hunted anything—and cooked everything. What better person to head this up, I thought. 

Among the many interesting dishes Timmy concocted was a wild game-bird perlo. The name of the particular bird that was supposed to inhabit this perlo escapes me, but I haven’t forgotten what Timmy whispered in my ear before the supper began: “I wasn’t able to kill enough _____ to put in the perlo, so I had to add some ____.” Then he listed a few non-game birds—killdeer, robin, etc. My stomach churned. I knew this man and what he was capable of cooking. Could I try this? Just for fun, I walked over to the pot labeled “Wild Game Surprise” and dished out a large spoonful. Tasty. 

The nation of Israel wasn’t as successful as Timmy at mixing things. The nation began with Abraham and God’s call to him to leave his pagan homeland and travel to a new place. Abraham’s descendants had a checkered history of trying to mix religions. 

Baal was the primary god of the land—a fertility god. Worshiping him and his female counterpart would ensure their crops, livestock, and families produced—or so they thought. Though they tried numerous times to get this religious mix mixed correctly, they never succeeded. Religion can’t be mixed. 

What they discovered, I have as well: God doesn’t share His affection with anyone or anything. He is jealous—or zealous. Not in a sinful way, but in a way that is for my good. He knows my pandering after other things at the expense of Him will lead to ultimate disappointment and spiritual failure. I simply can’t mix loving and serving Him with anything else. 

The good news is I don’t have to. His love for me is unconditional, immeasurable, and always sufficient. What He gives me—love and possessions, is all I’ll ever need. I don’t need compromise; I simply need to trust Him…period. Jesus said I couldn’t serve Him and mammon—money or possessions. Or anything else. 

Have you discovered that Jesus is all you need?

Prayer: Father, when we think we need just one more thing to satisfy us, remind us You are all we’ll ever need. 

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