Take off the ornaments
We have been blessed to have had the opportunity to support and serve an organization in our town that helps bring homeless women and men in off the streets. Many of these men and women have exhausted every other support option. They have been to jail. They have drug addictions. They are prostitutes. They have lost hope.
The Christian woman who founded and runs the organization came out of that same environment. She knows and her ministry is built on the fact that these individuals do not have the strength to get out of their situations on their own. It is only with the strength of Jesus Christ that their lives can be turned around. She will take them in, feed them, shelter them, care for them, teach them, help them find work, make them birthday cakes, share life and love and the good news with them. In return they simply need to accept this gift and submit to follow a few house rules.
One day we were talking with the founder and discussing what rule was the hardest for people to follow. I was surprised to learn it was the rule about cell phones. She has a requirement that someone new to the house must give up their cell phone for 60 days and must agree to allow them to erase all the contacts on the phone. This is the single biggest hurdle. The reason they require this is her time proven belief that you cannot continue to play in the same playground with the same playmates and think you are going to play a different game of life. She said that, despite the fact that it breaks her heart each time it happens, they have learned to not bend on this rule. If someone who needs their help refuses to cut ties with their old life, they fully intend to go back to that old life.
The Israelites didn’t have cell phones, but they had jewelry and ornamentation. Is jewelry and ornamentation bad? Are we restricted from wearing earrings? I don’t think that is what this is trying to say. Instead, the message was to remove the temptations. If wearing earrings causes your mind to return to the golden calf, get rid of the earrings.
You may not have a drug dealer on speed dial or a penchant for golden calves, but you may have ongoing repetitive sin in your life. Are you so foolish to believe that you can expose yourself to the same playground and playmates and not keep doing the same things? Clear out the ornamentation in your life that pulls you back into the same old things that you regret. It is OK to let it go, Jesus has way better things in store for you, but He needs you to grab ahold of Him with both hands – not one while you refuse to let go of your old way of life with the other.
They sought to seek God’s forgiveness for others by offering themselves as an atonement for their sins
His was innocent blood, He was God, He gave Himself as a ransom
Self responsibility. (also that there is punishment for sin and a book of life to be blotted out of)
Before He said the angel would protect them along the way, they angel would wipe out the inhabitants, God’s blessings on their food and water, no sickness, no miscarriage, a full life span,
they mourned and took off their ornaments
be humbled in my sin, repent and seek God’s forgiveness. Make restitution where possible. – Leave the old temptations behind.