Just before crossing the Jordan River to claim the promised land of Canaan the Israelites camped in the Vale of Shittim.
It was here in this sheltered valley that they encountered the polluting practices of the heathen. They became familiar with the vile thoughts constantly suggested to them. Their lives were full of ease and inactivity which helped prepare them to fall prey to temptation.
Scripture states in simple terms their downfall, “Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor.” (Numbers 25:3) [Baal-peor was a god of the Moabites worshipped by obscene rites.] The Israelites began to worship the Moabitish heathen gods and took part in their vile rites. They feasted and drank and danced to the accompaniment of evil music. Their senses were beguiled, conscience beclouded, and their fidelity to God and their marriage vows were forgotten. Disaster, plague and death followed swiftly upon the transgressors. God did not trifle with their wrongdoing.
God’s people, spiritual Israel, are again in the 21st century, on the borders of the Promised Land—heavenly Canaan. Lust, sensuality, moral impurity, infidelity and numerous other transgressions are attacking the followers of God just as they did at Baal-peor. Many are falling prey to ungodly practices and abandoning faith and integrity. They are casting away their hope of heaven for a few “pleasures of sin” that lead to eternal death unless repented of.
A call to faithfulness to God and purity of life and practice is in order. Is it possible to be kept pure and unyielding to sin in this era of ease and sensual indulgence? By engaging in a life of watchful diligence, constant prayer, and devotion to holy living we set up a safeguard against moral and spiritual compromise. God will hear the earnest prayer, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” After praying thus, through God’s promised strength, let us be “holy in all your conduct and manner of living.” (Psalm 51:10 KJV; 1 Peter 1:15 AMPC)
Picture originally found here