Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | November 24, 2022


Today’s devotion comes from Exodus 32:25-29.

“Now when Moses saw that the people were out of control—for Aaron had let them get out of control to be a derision among their enemies— then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, “Whoever is for the LORD, come to me!”  And all the sons of Levi gathered together to him.  He said to them, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘Every man of you put his sword upon his thigh, and go back and forth from gate to gate in the camp, and kill every man his brother, and every man his friend, and every man his neighbor.’”  So the sons of Levi did as Moses instructed, and about three thousand men of the people fell that day.  Then Moses said, “Dedicate yourselves today to the LORD—for every man has been against his son and against his brother—in order that He may bestow a blessing upon you today.”  Exodus 32:25-29.


Our neighbor can lead us away from God.  Our friend can lead us away from God.  Even our brother can lead us away from God.

We need to be very, very careful to be dedicated to the LORD above our neighbor, above our friend, and even above our brother.

Obviously, Scriptures command us to love our neighbor and honor our father and mother in Matthew 19:19 and to love our brother in 1 John 4:21.  Certainly, we also know from these and other Scriptures that we should not literally hate them nor kill them. 

Today’s Scripture may be shocking, but it helps us meditate on the importance of being wholly dedicated to the LORD.  We also read the strong figurative language that Jesus used to teach us the importance of being so dedicated and disciplined.  “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.”  Luke 14:26.

Today is Thanksgiving, and this Scripture and devotion may seem inappropriate in our rush to count our blessings.  But, let us first remember the importance of putting God first.  The LORD is kind and gracious at the end of this Scripture to add a concluding promise.  “Dedicate yourselves today to the LORD … in order that He may bestow a blessing upon you today.”  Likewise, we read:  “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  Matthew 6:33.

“One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?”  Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL!  THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD;  AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’”  Mark 12:28-30.


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