In these last days, devotion and zeal have faded everywhere. Many “churches” are even having service only on Sunday morning. At the same time, the entertainment industry is flourishing. God has been set aside while everyone pursues their pleasures. Six or seven days a week, people stream to buy lottery tickets, tobacco, alcohol, and movies. They will spend hours every week surfing the web.
On a worldwide scale, “Christianity” is lukewarm. To go beyond what is convenient in seeking God is not normal. To strive to go beyond average is considered proud. To be radical is thought of as unnecessary. But Calvary was not convenient, normal, or lukewarm. How can we be casual and shallow in our service and devotion to Him, after He went through such extremes for us?
Some people say we should blend in with our society and not be conspicuous. What about being separate from the world? Can sheep blend in with wolves? They just don’t fit in. From the depths of our inner being to our dress, we are light and they are darkness. Light is always conspicuous in the darkness–it cannot blend in. The children of Israel couldn’t help but to stand out in the wilderness. The orderly camp with the moving pillar of fire must have been an amazing sight. There was no other camp in the world like that.
In Revelation 3 God lets us know that He hates lukewarmness. We need to be fervent in our love and devotion to God. What husband would ever only do for his wife specifically what she asked? Love is extreme and will cause one to go beyond what is expected.
The Law of Moses provided for freewill offerings for those who just wanted to give something to the Lord that He had not specifically required. Are you numbered among those who offer sacrifices and praise to God when you are not required to, or must you be led around with a bit and bridle as the horse (Psa. 32:9)?
Let us consider the examples of Levi and Jonadab, how God blessed them for being radical. “And ye shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you, that my covenant might be with Levi, saith the Lord of hosts. My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name. The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity. For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the Lord of hosts.” Mal. 2:4-8.
The reason the Levites were ordained to the priesthood was not that God drew straws and Levi won the draw. There was a reason–“for the fear…” Levi feared above normal. He was not casual about the things of God. He not only feared God himself, but was successful in “turning many from iniquity,” or causing them to fear as well. God honored him greatly for it. His children for thousands of years benefited from his going beyond the normal. They were privileged to be the high priests and go into the holy of holies and see the glory of God. They got to be there when the children of Israel brought in all their sacrifices and offered them up to God. I believe those were great and glorious times, as God blessed them for what they brought in and sacrificed. I believe there were tears at times, and great rejoicing at others. The Levites got to see it all.
Are you concerned about the spiritual welfare of your children? Be like Levi–fear God above the norm.
In Jeremiah chapter thirty-five, we read of the children of Jonadab that obeyed their father’s commands to not drink wine, sow seed, or build houses. God did not scold them for it, rather He greatly blessed them for honoring their father’s commands. The people of our day would have said, “That’s not written in the law. I’m not going to do that.” And they would have missed out on the blessing.
Some have quoted the following scripture, “…If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book…” (Rev. 22:18), trying to justify the practice of not requiring anything of themselves or anyone else that is not expressly written in the Word. This is a grave error. Let us consider the words of the apostle, “And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation: for I have written a letter unto you in few words.” Heb. 13:22. The apostle here was requiring the saints to allow someone to expand upon the written word, in order to aid in understanding the burden and spirit of the letter. We must follow not only the written commands of the Word, but also follow the spirit and principles that were laid down as well. It was not possible for any of the apostles or prophets to write all of the will of God concerning all of His children for all generations. If they could have, there would have been no need for Moses to appoint judges over tens, fifties, hundreds, and thousands, or for the appointed judges as we know in the book of Judges. People could have just looked up their situation in the law and read it for themselves. A large part of the job of secular judges today is applying the laws of the land to the thousands of situations they have to deal with. Not every case is black and white. They don’t add to the laws–they just apply them. So is the practice of real Christians. They will apply the Word to all the situations in every area of life.
In the two thousand years since the New Testament was written, many new avenues of sin have arisen, as well as new practices and customs all over the world. Some applications are obvious, some are obscure. You, dear reader, would do well to take heed to the apostle, and suffer the word of exhortation from spiritual people in our day. It is not those that love God who have a problem with those who “go beyond the written word.” It is those who love themselves and feel condemnation when those who are real Christians show up their hypocritical professions. May the Lord help us to love Him supremely and serve Him with all of our hearts in the midst of a world of people who love pleasures more than God.