And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them.
There is no denying that the world around us is evil. It seems like the sinfulness around us is intensifying, but the truth is that sinful man has existed since the fall in the Garden of Eden, and every kind of evil has saturated mankind. And back in the early days of the nation of Israel, the nations around them were corrupting themselves with all manner of sinfulness and evil. But God wanted something different, something better for His special people. And we can learn valuable lessons from the commandments of God to His people.
First of all, we are not to be like those around us, living in sin and not caring about righteousness or obeying God. We are not to follow their examples of evil, but instead take a stand for what is right, what is pure and holy. There should be a distinction in the way we behave compared to what the world around us is doing. And we should not use other people’s sin as an excuse to sin ourselves. Just knowing what is displeasing to God should be enough to dissuade us from imitating the behaviors and sins of those around us.
Secondly, we should hate what God hates. God abhorred the sin of the people dwelling in Canaan. They were committing every abomination imaginable and drew Almighty God’s wrath upon them. We should view sin with the same kind of intensity. We should hate any trace of sin within ourselves that corrupts us and separates us from God. We should hate the sin in our society that creates havoc and destruction and tears down the morality of the world we live in. We should hate that sin attacks, destroys and only leads to spiritual death.
We should also agree with God about what He considers to be sin. God spelled it out pretty clearly: “These are the things people are doing that are wrong; don’t you do them, too.” If God says something is sin, we should also view it as sin and keep ourselves from it. We should not try to justify ourselves or make excuses for our behavior. Sin is sin, and what God calls sin is sin. There is simply no way around it.
God called Israel to be different than the world around them, and He calls us as Christians to live differently from the world around us. We are to be ever conforming to the image of our Lord, and that leaves no room for sin in our lives. If we strive to live obediently before the Lord and follow His ways, we will be blessed and spare ourselves much heartache and pain that choosing sin would have caused.