Separate Yourself to God
Now then make confession to the Lord, the God of your fathers and do his will. Separate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from the foreign wives.”
God wants His own people
God’s desire is for a people that belong to Him. Not just by rights, but are His by heart and desire. We know that this is true because it is the reason that the Father sent Jesus into the world, to die for a people given over to Him wholeheartedly.
What does God want of us? To make that wholehearted confession – we belong to Him.
It is therefore our responsibility to ensure we are such a people and that we live in a way that reflect our devotion to Him. When we walk in the revelation that God wants us for Himself, that we are His and not the world’s, then the world knows also we are His and we are not the same as them.
This is what Godly separation looks like. By our beliefs, our words, our actions, our countenance — all according the Holy Spirit within us — there becomes an evident separation in how we live.There should never by any qualms as a Christian in a living a life that looks different to the world around you.
Separate from Foreign Wives
In the verse above it says “separate yourselves from… foreign wives”.
The Israelites married pagan women from neighbouring nations. Whilst you and I most likely haven’t done this today, there is a principle that does apply for us.
When you marry into the pagan ways of life, it surrounds you day and night. When you marry yourself into an opposing belief and value system, you will find it seeping into every part of your life. When you marry into a pagan life, that pagan way of doing things is now part of your home, your domestic arrangement, your household, your family. Soon you don’t know where the pagan begins and ends.
God is telling us, don’t marry yourself to the ungodly, pagan ways of living, thinking, believing and acting. If it not of God, don’t bring it into your house, don’t mix it into your household and family. Keep it out and remain separated to me.
Jesus says I am not going to take you out of the world, but I also don’t want you to be OF the world, or married to the ungodly, ways of the world (John 17). It is a crucial difference. God wants you to preserve that intimate place in your life for Him and His alone, unaffected by outside, pagan influences.
What is Godly Separation?
There are two parts to Godly separation. God wants us separated TO Him and FROM the world.
Separation TO God – without our separation being TO God, the end result is legalism. We probably all know of examples of ugly religion that is devoid of love, grace or intimacy with God, but full of rules, do nots and heavy yokes to bear. That is not true biblical separation. God’s call is for us to separate TO Him, His heart, His way and His kingdom.
Separation FROM the World – without our separation being FROM the world, the end result is compromise. The truth of the gospel changes lives. The mark of a Christian is a changed life. If that is true of you and me, there will be noticable difference in how we live now, compared to how we lived before Christ. So it is with the world around us. Those differences in us point to life-changing Saviour, Jesus the hope of humanity.
Chances are, we end up walking between these two extremes of legalism on the one hand, and licentious compromise on the other. We most likely will have an inclination one way or another. But as we set our heart on Jesus true change and separation will manifest in us.