Psalms 106:34-37 "They didn’t destroy the peoples, As Yahweh commanded them, But mingled themselves with the nations, Learned their works.They served their idols, Which became a snare to them. Yes, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons.”
When we read the stories in the Old Testament, one thing that shows up consistently is how quickly Israel would turn away from serving the Lord to serving idols. How did it happen?
This passage in Psalms 106 gives us the answer. There was a progression that took place – and it’s the same progression that we must be on our guard against today.
1) They didn’t destroy and drive out the nations from their Promised Land. When God brought Israel into the land, He commanded them to completely remove the peoples who were there. The reason for this was that they would ‘be a snare’ to the Israelites. However, the Israelites didn’t obey God completely and made covenants and agreements of peace with those that remained.
2) They mingled themselves with them. Rather than continuing to work to bring the nations to an understanding of their God, the Israelites began to ‘mingle’ – hang out with, spend time with these people.
3) They learned their works. As a result of mingling themselves with the nations, they began to copy the actions and works of these nations. But the actions these nations were taking were not neutral – they were result of their idolatrous beliefs. Even though Israel didn’t intend to serve the idols, by copying the works of these nations, it began to open them up to the idolatry that drove them.
4) They served their idols. The next step after learning the works of the nations was that they began to serve their idols. Thus they took another step away from wholeheartedly serving God to a place of beginning to serve idols. This became a snare, or a trap to them – the situation foretold by Moses and Joshua.
5) They sacrificed their sons and daughters to demons. Here they reach full-blown idolatry, and the peak of complete madness.
All of this began because Israel didn’t take steps at the start to ‘drive out’ that which opposed God in their midst.
The same lesson applies to us as Christians. If we don’t deal firmly and strongly with the beginnings of worldliness in our hearts – then we too will follow the same progression. It’s not about living in fear of the world – rather it’s about valuing and prizing the gift of God’s salvation above everything else!