Many professional athletes have pre-game rituals that they believe will help them stay focused and bring them luck during their games. A player for a football team had a superstition that literally reeked. The player slept the night before games in a university T-shirt he hadn’t washed in 11 years. When asked about sleeping in the dirty T-shirt, he replied: “It’s got rips and stuff, but I’m not going to change what I do.” While this pre-game ritual and others may seem benign, fun, quirky, and harmless, superstitions can easily morph into a value system that is built on unstable foundations.

This is what happened with God’s people. Though He reached out to them with love, they rejected Him and built their lives on the foundation of idolatry (Isaiah 65:1-7). Among many appalling idolatries (worshiping in “sacred gardens,” consulting the dead, etc.), many Israelites worshiped the pagan gods of Fate and Destiny (Isaiah 65:11) in their attempt to know and secure the future. To try to please the duo, some of God’s people set food and drink before idols. Israel had forgotten that only God knew, controlled and blessed their future. Because His people had chosen to construct their lives on the rickety foundation of fate and destiny, God promised to judge them for their misplaced credulity (Isaiah 65:6-7). Though some would be judged, those who were loyal to God would be blessed (Isaiah 65:8-9).

God has called us to be a holy and peculiar people in the world. We can do this by loving, serving and obeying God alone; by confessing our sins of idolatry; by dispelling and rejecting any value system that is built on the unstable foundation of superstition, speculation or luck; and by teaching and living out biblical truth.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Acts 16:1-15