NEITHER EGYPT NOR CANAAN
“Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, I am the LORD your God. After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do: neither shall ye walk in their ordinances. Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the LORD your God.” Leviticus 18:2-4
The Israelites were familiar with the customs of two worlds. For generations, they had been accustomed to living in Egypt. They knew the Egyptian culture, and they had been exposed to the Egyptian gods. God had miraculously delivered them from their Egyptian bondage and had placed them in the land of Canaan, which He promised to Abraham. They found the world of the Canaanites also to be filled with idolatry and wickedness. How would God have His chosen people to live? Were they to live according to the world of the Egyptians that they had known for centuries? Were they to pattern themselves after the lifestyle of the residents of Canaan?
Our text clearly tells us that neither of these lifestyles were to be an option: “After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do.” They were not to adopt the morality, priorities, value system, or worship of the world. God’s people were to live according to another standard: “Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the LORD your God.” They were to live according to the Word of God, not the culture or traditions of their society. God’s Word would dictate the lifestyle of His people.
These words are as relevant to us today as they were to the people of Israel thousands of years ago. We are not to pattern ourselves after the world that we live in. We should not seek to emulate its fashions or values, or lack of them. We are not looking for the world’s approval. We are a peculiar people unto the Lord. When individuals and churches begin to imitate the world’s methods, its music, and its morals, they are inviting spiritual decline. First of all, we do not need that kind of compromise in our lives. It is leading to great apostasy. Additionally, the world does not need our compromise. If we are no different from them, why would they want what we are offering? We are to live according to God’s Word.