Ask anyone for money and you risk getting the door closed in your face. Sell them a lottery ticket, however, and they will be more eager to welcome you with open arms. Especially if it has the potential of winning a lot of cash!
But aren’t both scenarios the same? In both cases money is required. The only difference is that in the first scenario, you generally get a “no” response, while the second is a more attractive option! Why the difference? Because the tiniest potential for winning something will motivate humanity beyond bounds!
Let’s say, however, that we buy a lottery ticket week after week, month after month, year after year. Just how much do we end up spending? And if we do win something, is it worth the money we put into it? Is it truly worthwhile? Ask anyone who has won the lottery just how happy it made them temporarily!
When you look at it this way, it really doesn’t make any sense. But then, a lot of things don’t make sense, do they? Just ask the Israelites in Shittim.
Shittim! Oh yeah. Shittim! The place that should have been avoided completely! It’s there that the Israelites were bitterly defeated, not by might, but by seduction, a deception directly from the pits of hell! In short, Balak, the king of Moab had tried to entice Balaam to curse Israel, but what came out of his mouth was a blessing. Unable to defeat Israel in this way, Balak tried something else. He sent in the seductive women of Moab, and Israel fell head-over-heels into the trap. The consequences were disastrous! “They treated you as enemies when they deceived you.” (Num 25:18 NIV)
The same thing happened to the wise king Solomon towards the end of his life. He was utterly blinded by lust! “King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter (his wife)” (1 Kings 11:1 NIV)
One thing both stories have in common is the consequences of such endeavours:
“His wives led him astray. As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God . . .” (1 Kings 11:3-4 NIV)
“So Israel joined in worshiping the Baal of Peor.” (Num 25:3 NIV)
This kind of insatiable hunger is costly. Much more costly, in fact, than lottery tickets! It is bound to hurt a lot of people! Plus, it turns our own hearts away from those who really matter, such as our families, our spouse, and even God Himself! Think about it: The enemy’s armies could not achieve complete submission of Israel, but seduction, a true deception, led to automatic submission to things they would never even consider submitting to if they had been in their right minds.
This is why our Father is warning us clearly: “But a man who commits adultery lacks judgment; whoever does so destroys himself.” (Prov 6:32 NIV)
Truly there is no better place than in the arms of your beloved spouse. Savor him/her, cherish him/her, and you will live a blessed life.
Let us remember the consequences of drinking the forbidden waters. It is like the remaining French soldiers at the end of the battle of Waterloo. They were completely surrounded by the British and Prussian armies, and the Duke of Wellington promised to spare their lives if they would only surrender. Tired and devoid of energy, the soldiers looked at one another. They had dedicated all their efforts to Napoleon, their emperor. There was no choice but to scream: “We will never surrender!” And then they were all obliterated by the surrounding canons.
Any of us giving in to such seductions will end up the same way as these poor French soldiers. Lust destroys everything we stand for, even our very own life!
An older man I once knew found himself “in love” with a woman half his age. His own children warned him about the path of destruction he was heading down, but he ignored them. Eventually he seemed to completely forget who cared for him, his own family. He could be seen hobbling down the street several yards behind his new girlfriend, and it was obvious that she cared nothing for him. It wasn’t long after that that the gentleman died without having seen his own children in months.
These forbidden waters are truly like buying lottery tickets. We lose every time. And those fluttering eyes may look like lottery tickets to you, but remember, no cash winnings can be found there. Only deception. The odds are not in your favor!
But it’s only two bucks!
Is it really?
(To access the entire “Facing Unimaginable Odds” devotional series, please click here.)