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What the Bible says about Assimilation
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Exodus 13:17

The "way of the land of the Philistines" describes a small portion of the route later known as the Via Maris, "the Way of the Sea." This coastal road connected the Nile Delta region with Canaan, Syria, and beyond that to Mesopotamia. Although the naming of this portion of the road after the Philistines may be a slight anachronism (perhaps a later emendation), Philistines already lived along its southern course in Canaan.

However, more significant is the Philistines' connection with war. Evidently, the people who lived along that road were a hostile group, easily provoked into armed conflict, and at the time of the Exodus, on a war footing. The fledgling nation of Israel, God knew, was not yet prepared to fight any people as aggressive as the Philistines, no matter what their numbers were at the time.

Nevertheless, this passing mention in Exodus 13 alludes to the fact that the Philistine presence in southern Canaan had not remained static. From a trading outpost in Gerar, they had expanded in the intervening four centuries to control a large area. Perhaps they were not the most populous of the ethnic groups there, but they were certainly the dominant one. It is thought that their numbers were steadily increased by new colonists from their homeland in the Aegean. In addition, it seems to have been a conscious policy to assimilate to a large degree with the native population, which would include intermarriage and adoption of local deities. In this way a minority people could quickly rise to prominence.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Who Were the Philistines?

Nehemiah 9:2

Their children faced the same tests ours face today: a shortage of converted potential mates. Many of them had started dating and marrying "outside the church." Most of those they married never converted to God's truths but remained pagans. This led to whole families forsaking God's way of life. They forsook Israelite culture to the point that Nehemiah later writes that "half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod [a Philistine city], and could not speak the language of Judah" (Nehemiah 13:24). Boaz' marriage to Ruth, a foreigner of Moab, proves to be the exception, not the rule.

Staff
The Feast Is Over . . . Now What?

Related Topics: Assimilation | Boaz and Ruth | Marriage


 

Isaiah 2:6-9

Portrayed here is an entire nation devoted to getting, much like our modern world. The American motto seems to be, "The chief end of man is to glorify prosperity and enjoy it forever." We worship—we serve—what we make. Another facet of this is that potential fruits of material success are self-confidence and pride, which to the successful mind subtly makes God unnecessary. But since all men must have a god, and a righteous God asks awkward questions as to how the success was attained, such people turn to a more amenable god. They worship their own success, secularism, the confidence of men in their own powers. The quest for material wealth thus produces a powerful need to assimilate to the world.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Tenth Commandment

Isaiah 65:11-13

Drink in the Bible suggests "to take in; to accept; to believe." In this case, it indicates that the person assimilates the very life of God by His Spirit, so it becomes a part of every part of his life. It is not the mere assimilation of facts, knowledge, proof, or evidence, but also all the nuances and subtleties of an intimate relationship—the kind that exists between a shepherd and his sheep and that should exist between God and us. These subtleties and nuances affect every aspect of life, and they can be learned only by experiencing life with another. They form the essence of our knowledge of the spirit of that other person—or of God!

God is complaining that people will drink from any dirty pool, which has led to man's history of false governments, false religions, false educational systems, false childrearing practices, false marital practices, and so forth. The deceit reaches into every facet of life because people are imbibing from any stagnant pond that they can find along the way rather than the one God would lead them to.

God's people will be satisfied by what they drink. But those who drink from any old pool along the way are feeding their minds—and therefore their spirits—falsehood and will come up thirsty. It does not matter how much they are drinking from that pool. They are going to become sick and diseased spiritually, and if nothing changes, they are going to die.

Mankind has an unfulfilled craving to worship. People desire to fill that longing within them and find a sense of well-being, accomplishment, and excitement. To get this fulfillment, we can see from our experiences and our observation of the world that people will drink from any dirty pool they find.

Humans will eat anything that wiggles or moves. They will put anything into their bodies to experience a momentary thrill or excitement. They will engage in any kind of perversion to satisfy this longing or need. Most people want to live on the wild side, which is what Paul writes in Romans 8:7: "The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be."

Where will we drink? What are the long-range effects of what we take in to feed our minds and spirits? Will we end up in the Kingdom of God because of it? Will our lives acquire a sense of fulfillment because of our relationship with God? Or will we become like those who are "always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (II Timothy 3:7)—broken in spirit and in heart, and feeling frustrated and empty, as though God does not care? The Bible shows that for people with that last outlook, trouble will suddenly come upon them, and they will all fall in a pit that they themselves have dug.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Psalm 23 (Part Two)

1 Peter 2:2

This is a clear teaching. The Word of God is necessary for growth. We do not have it instantaneously upon conversion; it increases in us little by little through study.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part Nineteen)


 




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