While Israel was staying in Shittim, the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women, who invited them to the sacrifices to their gods. The people ate and bowed down before these gods. So Israel joined in worshiping the Baal of Peor. And the LORD’s anger burned against them.
In the previous devotion we saw that God warned the Israelites that if the foreigners remained among them, they would become a snare. This passage shows the results of leaving a snare behind.
Two sins are committed, one that leads to another. It is common in life for one sin to lead to another which snowballs into a big problem. The first sin is the sexual immorality with the Moabite women. If it was stopped then, it would have not been nearly as bad. Not to gloss over this particular sin, but we all sin and slip up. The key is not to compound those mistakes with further ones.
Once the Moabite women are in the Israelites’ lives, it is not a big step toward the invitation to sacrifice to Baal. A more common occurrence in the church today is skipping worship services. We may justify it because we had a hard week at work, the yard work has fallen behind, or there’s a game on that we can’t miss.
One week turns into two weeks because once we justify something once, it’s easier to justify it again. The next thing we know, we haven’t been to church in a month and didn’t even realize it.
Small compromises will lead to bigger ones later on. Car thieves don’t start out stealing cars, they start by stealing candy bars. Israel’s first sin ended up with the people worshipping Baal and God’s anger burning against them.