Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Temptation Can Be A Fatal Attraction

In the prophet Hosea's time Israel could not resist temptation and it led to their demise. When the Israelites first arrived from Egypt, after the Exodus, the most popular religion of the land was worship of Baal, a god who promised fertility in family, flocks, and field.
The Israelites bought into it and started worshipping Baal which means they broke the first of the Ten Commandments. But they also took part in sex rituals that were a part of Baal worship. The shrines and temples of Baal included temple prostitutes both male and female. A Baal worshipper had relations with them as a way of requesting Baal to grant them many children, large flocks, and an abundant harvest.
Hosea preached against this. "They will have sexual relations with the prostitutes, but they will not have children," he argues. Hosea put the blame squarely on the men of Israel. "The men have sexual relations with prostitutes and offer sacrifices with the temple prostitutes. A foolish people will be ruined." (4:10, 14)
In America we have a lust for sex. I'm surprised Baal is not openly worshipped today because of the propensity to succumb to sexual temptation exhibited by so many in America and pornography is a billion dollar business.
There are two ways to deal with temptation. You run to it, or from it. The Israelites in Hosea's day ran to it unlike their forefather Joseph who ran when faced with sexual temptation. As God punished Israel how long before He takes His hand off the American people? Pray for a return to the Creator God on the part of our people.

Friday, September 10, 2010

What's Up With Morality?

A few years ago, young women blushed if they were embarrassed. Today, they are embarrassed if they blush. I find myself not easily embarrassed anymore. After 37 years of observing, pastoring, counseling, and talking to people there is not much I have not seen in terms of moral behavior.
Some boys held a little experiment one time by placing a frog in a container of water and they began to heat the water very slowly. The water finally reached the boiling point and yet the frog never even attempted to jump out. Why? Because the changes in the environment were so slight and slow to occur that the frog didn't notice them until it was too late.
As Christians we can end up like the frog. There are changes that have occured in our moral environment that we don't even notice have occurred. We can be dying without even noticing it morally speaking.
We have been schooled by entertainers to laugh at what was once considered improper and vulgar. Some psychologists have said anything you do is okay as long as it doesn't hurt someone else. People are classified with the radical right if they have any moral values that they hold to be true. I believe there are boundaries for human beings. I believe there is right and there is wrong. I believe the Bible, rightly enterpreted, teaches us how our Creator wanted us to live. It is the owner's manual for a believer. Yet it too is maligned and criticized but it cannot be done away with. What's happened to morality? Everyone does what is right in their own eyes.