Therefore you shall keep My ordinance, so that you do not commit any of these abominable customs which were committed before you, and that you do not defile yourselves by them: I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 18:30)
In the previous verses, the Bible makes it clear that the land of Israel cannot tolerate the type of activities described as being committed by the different Canaanite tribes. Their moral perversions had defiled the land and, like someone with a delicate stomach not handling spoiled food, the land ejected them. The notion that terra firma rejects certain behavior is supported by the Hebrew word translated as “abomination,” which is derived from a root word that means “to wear out.” When basic humanity erodes to the point of committing abominable practices that resemble animalistic behavior rather than human, the land and all that it entails “wears out” — it can’t take it any more.
This interaction between mankind’s disobedience and the creation is even more evident when the land is deemed holy and the people are called to be so. In that scenario, a higher standard of behavior is required. For example, up until the time that Adam decided to disobey God, he was able to enjoy the benefits of the Garden and dwell in the Presence of the Almighty. But because of his willful sin, he and his wife were immediately sent out of Paradise and compelled to fight thorns and thistles just to eat. Thus we see that what is holy is very sensitive to sin and can’t long stomach it.
In the decades that led up to the flood of Noah, the earth became corrupt (Genesis 6:11-12) to the point that God was forced to act. If He had not intervened and removed the wickedness, it is conceivable that the earth would have reached the point of no return, which is to say, beyond redemption. That is something He was not willing to allow, and so we learn that He will do what has to be done where His people are concerned. If it means He has to send them into exile for a season in order to get their attention, He will do so because, as He told Israel, “I will rule over you” (Ezekiel 20:33).
The point I am making is there is a physical consequence of sin to the degree that it affects not only people but the planet we live on. So, no matter where we are in the earth, God’s people are called to live according His standards. We are His sons and daughters and are to behave appropriately, because in doing so, we have a tremendous impact upon the earth and its inhabitants. So when we are tempted to behave as the rest of the world, we need to remember those words — “I will rule over you.” It’s His way of saying, “I don’t care what other parents let their kids do, this is my house and you are my son.” So then, let’s not wear Him out with unruly and juvenile behavior. Rather, let us honor Him and bring glory to His name through our willful obedience to His Word and say, “Come rule over us!”
Blessings and Shalom,