IT RUBS OFF ON US
Do not let Judah become guilty; may they not go to Gilgal or go up to Beth-aven. Hosea 4:15
During Hosea’s lifetime, God’s people were divided into two nations. Israel was to the north and Judah to the south. Israel had strayed farther from God’s ways than Judah. In this verse, God gives a cautionary word to Judah so that the purity of her faith will not continue to deteriorate. His encouragement was this ~ Do not go to Gilgal or Beth-aven. These cities, both in Israel, were the centers of idol worship. If a citizen of Judah traveled there, most likely he would be drawn to partake in idolatrous activities. The pull toward apostasy would be profound.
In whatever ways I am drawn to sin, I must be careful to avoid situations that put me in vulnerable places. Being near the things that cause me to stumble is poor planning because I underestimate their allure. It could be that God is doing a new work in me. Because it has just been birthed, it is as fragile as a new baby. There may be a person in my life that withholds their support of this new direction in my life. Their words cut me to the core and erode my confidence. Being with them may resemble going to Gilgal. Whether or not to spend a lot of time with them should be a matter for prayer.
God wants us to use common sense. If I am an alcoholic, I will avoid situations where everyone partakes freely. If I thrive on gossip, I should steer clear of coffee circles that make a sport of finding fault with those who can’t defend themselves. If I am self-critical, I should limit the company of those who delight in tearing me down. I am not invincible and I can often be like the toddler standing in front of a plate full of buttery cookies. Once I taste it, I will have no restraint until I get sick from over-indulgence. The damage is already done.
May God make me a strategic planner so that I can see danger ahead of time and plan my steps accordingly.
There is a Gilgal waiting for me. Show me and give me the strength to change course. In Jesus’ name, Amen