When you were babies, dad and I did not let you touch the tv remotes. Holding the remote certainly was not morally wrong, but remote controls are not baby toys. If we had let you “play” with it as a baby, at some point, we would have had to teach you later not to play with it. It was a preventative measure, and a step in teaching you the difference between what was a toy, and what was a decoration or item used for something else. As you got older when we visited friends, we could tell you something was not a toy, and you had learned not to touch it.
Preventative measures are good for all of us at all ages. They are like guard rails that keep us on the right track. They are often a rule or guideline about something, that in and of itself is not morally right or wrong, but can help keep us from sin. After a little research on today’s Leviticus chapter, I believe God’s intention here was also a “preventative” measure. If you look at todays verses, at first they seem a little odd. Why would a person be required to bring all of the named animals to the tent of meeting that were killed? Lev. 17:7 gives us the big clue. It talks about not sacrificing to a “goat demon”. The animals mentioned in Lev. 17, ox, lamb and goats, were common animals used to sacrifice to other gods for those nations around the Israelites. God knew the heart of his people, and their tendency to go astray very quickly. He had already seen them do so with Aaron and the golden calf, so He was putting up some very clear “guard rails” to protect them from repeating that sin again. It was a guard rail against becoming, or adopting the behaviors of the pagan nations around them. They were to bring any ox, lamb or goats killed to Him, and to Him alone.
The draw to become or be influenced by those around them is not only a characteristic of the Israelites. We will always have that same inclination. Conforming to the world is a natural, slow and insidious process. If we do nothing to fight it, it will happen automatically. We need guard rails just like the Israelites. Just as one example, I am reminded of Ps. 101:3, which says “I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless.” Based on this, dad and I use OpenDNS with the internet here at the house to help us not set “anything worthless” (some versions say “evil”) before any “eyes” in this house. OpenDNS blocks sites in the categories of gambling, drugs, dating, lingerie, weapons and more. Not ALL the sites included in these are morally bad, but most would lead us in the wrong direction. OpenDNS is a “guard rail” for our eyes when we are on the internet.
What other guard rails do you and I have in place? First, think about the world we will be drawn to conform to. What are activities, thoughts, or time investments that we are naturally encouraged to do by our neighbors, the internet, and those around us, go against what God calls us to do? What do we have in place to help protect us? It could be a friend that we ask to hold us accountable in a specific area like language or media content. We could create a “guard rail” to protect us from becoming greedy setting up automatic transfers from our paycheck to church or to support another ministry. The world will NATURALLY conform us to its image. The question is, do we have any guard rails in place to help fight against this?