It's shabbat. I'm not supposed to be thinking about sins. I'm supposed to be pondering the Creation and the Creator. I'm supposed to be contemplating the mercies of the Almighty in redeeming the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt. But sins are ever a problem for me and not only mine. I think about sin and its consequences often, and more often of late.
This woman sitting almost dead centre in the Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple in Singapore is pouring libations to the gods. I'm guessing that most people who see this photo will consider her to be a good woman. A sincere woman. And that her activity to the gods will be rewarded in some fashion, or at least not harmful at all. She's not hurting anyone, right? And her religion, that in which she was raised, teaches her to do this, so she's a religious devotee and thus will be doubly rewarded.
But the God of the Bible is ever wanting our good, for His sake, and what this idolater is doing is actually harmful. It's not good for her society. It's not good for her. It's not good for her children. And this conclusion is not based on emotions or 21st century multiculturalism. It's based on faith in the Creator/Redeemer who longs for each of us to experience life and that abundantly.
I'm informed by the entirety of the Bible, but most specifically in John chapter 10. There we read these words of Y'shua. He said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.”
This figure of speech Jesus spoke to them, but they did not understand what those things were which He had been saying to them.
So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." (verses 1-10)
The Gospel of John is the book of life and in this section, Y'shua's demonstration of jealousy, and longing for 'the best' in us and for us, is most clear. Others are going to rip you off. Others are going to steal, kill and destroy. From the inside out, and that's the 'others' he is addressing. We use their names without impunity. We declare that all the other religions of the world leave people with less. Only in following Y'shua is there life and abundant life at that.
Don't be robbed by religious devotion. Don't be ripped off by activities that seem innocent. Worship of any god besides the God of the Bible is false. And those activities will end your life far from the glory of God. That would be a shame in the deepest sense of that word.
God wants you to know Him. He wants you to love Him. And Him alone. Don't cheat yourself. Turn to Jesus and learn. Listen. Repent of your sins and turn from false gods. He Will receive you and welcome you into his forever family.