Major Warnings in Old Testament Narratives

This 1-minute devotion highlights 3 warnings from the Old Testament stories.

The Israelites repeatedly went astray, and Scripture tells us to learn from their bad example "for everything that was written in the past was written to teach us...These things happened as a warning to us, so that we would not crave evil things as they did" (Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:6).

1. The Israelites went astray when they lost a true understanding of God's character (Jeremiah 4:22; Psalm 50:21).(1) 

2. They went astray when they adopted pagan practices (Hosea 4:12).(2) 

3. They went astray when they complained against God and showed no gratitude for His loving provision (Numbers 21:4-5).

We must:

1. Understand God's character as it is defined and displayed in Scripture.

2. Rid our lives of pagan influences.

3. Rest in God's love when times are difficult. 

Deception, compromise, and selfishness ruined the Old Testament people of God. So let's stop following their bad examples and start learning from them.


This 1-minute devotion highlights 3 warnings from the Old Testament stories.

(1) Distortions in God's character:

In popular novels like The Shack.

In the growing influence of Ex-vangelical teachings.

In the mixtures of truth and error found in devotionals and Bible paraphrases like  Jesus Calling, The Message, and The Passion Translation.

God is neither a Permissive Granddad nor a Hard Teacher

(2) Pagan compromise:

Today, we face two opposite errors: Christians who use no discernment with pagan practices and those who make spurious claims about things which are not pagan. We cannot give Satan too much credit or too little. This post can help us biblically discern which things we should avoid: Popular Pagan Practices.

(3) Complaints and ingratitude:

These devotions can encourage us to deal maturely with difficulties in our lives: Eternal Gratitude and Great Expectation, 3 Ways to Keep Your Perspective During Difficulties, and God Forgave Our Debt

Bible Love Notes


  1. What I find fascinating is that we so easily see the sins of everyone else, and don't realize that we are basically doing the very same thing. For example, we've learned the way of the pagans just like some of the early church did when Tertullian got after them for putting up garland, laurels, wreaths and lights "more than the pagans" during the time of the "Saturnalia & Minervalia" celebrations just before December 25th. Come on, "Chr-stMass" trees are pagan, and we've done them, and some still do. The Lord used those very same passages, that you brought out, to show me that I had bought into idolatry via the pagan decorations for Chr-stMass. I realized how dishonouring this was to Him. I would much rather rejoice in His coming without following the pattern of the pagans, the traditions of men.

    1. Dear Teresa,

      If wreaths, garlands, and lights are pagan, then prayer, singing, and worship are pagan because pagans do those things as well.

      I regularly hear from people with your beliefs, and I used to simply encourage them to do what their consciences prescribed and allow other Christians to do what ours prescribed as we are commanded in Romans 14. But your movement is very vocal, leaving many comments on my posts, sometimes on devotions that aren't even related to Christmas. Those in your movement seem to place celebrating Christmas on the same level as intentionally worshiping Satan.

      Do you know a single Christian who celebrates Christmas in honor of pagan gods? I've studied Saturnalia and the other holidays linked to Christmas and the only actual historical proof we have is that the Catholic church sometimes planned Christian holidays near the same date as a pagan holiday to distract the people from paganism, not to copy it.

      This is similar to Harvest festivals at churches which reject the evil themes of Halloween and give an alternative to Christian children. they may still have pumpkins and candy and costumes, but they are not honoring pagan gods. But there's one main difference between Harvest Festivals and Christmas: Christmas has been successfully separated from these pagan holidays.

      No genuine believer is worshiping trees or sun gods or honoring any pagan deity when they celebrate Christmas. If they've heard of the ancient pagan holidays you mention, it's because someone with your belief has brought it to their attention, bringing up something long dead and best forgotten.

      There are real pagan threats to Christianity, and we need to focus on those instead of dredging up ancient holidays no one knows about. I refer you to the link in footnote (2) Popular Pagan Practices.

    2. Very well put, Gale. Merry Christmas

    3. Gail, Tertullian's point was to shame the "Christians" for copying the ways of the pagans. Singing and Garlands is not comparing apples to apples. God warned us/Israel about that, in the Old Testament, repeatedlyyyyy! Deuteronomy is constantly bringing that up. Decorating a tree is a pagan practice "under every green tree," and we've adopted it, along with Yul Logs, etc. The nativity is not in the middle of our living rooms, but a tree with "gold and silver" decorations is. We must cause people great confusion because one minute, we tell them not to worship idols, and the next we put up something that we adore in the middle of our living quarters, and give the tree gifts. Sounds very idolatrous to me, when you stop to think about it. We're no different that those who worship Mary, as they say "Oh, I don't worship Mary!" But indeed those do "venerate her" and pray to her. I had never heard of the Hebrew Roots movement before the Lord told me that the inflateable witch in my living room, in a disturbing dream, was in reality a "KrissMass" tree. In fact, like most of us, I didn't really want to investigate these rumors that I'd learned about KrissMass, because I'd built my house around where I would put my tree every year. It wasn't until after I started investigating "KrissMass" roots that I discovered the Hebrew roots movement, and I have some serious issues with them, as well as the Worldwide Church of God and Seventh day Adventists, all of which has cultish qualities which I agree with you. Giving up KrissMass decor was the hardest thing to do, but because of my love relationship with my Saviour & King Jesus, I was willing to do anything. I love you Gail, but I couldn't help but see the glaring contradictions with your choice to embrace the worlds customs and the verse about not doing as the pagans. I don't have a problem of people remembering Jesus first coming, but He only asked us to remember His death, and infact He didn't ask us to remember Him in His resurrection either, but His death. In reality, the catholic tradition of having a Mass vigil the night before December 25, was to remember Jesus the "victim". Yet, Jesus was no victim, He gave his life willingly. So in reality, if you take away the transubstantiation part of the Mass and the victim mentality, and remember Christ's coming as a little lamb, was so that He would die for our sins with "eucharist" (Greek "thanksgiving") in our hearts, then, it wouldn't be so wrong. It's all the pagan traditions added into it that wrecks it and the Roman Catholic connection that embraced and allowed those things into the church.

    4. I looked at the post you recommended. I haven't finished reading it yet but I felt I could answer these questions:
      1. Does it have a pagan name? It was originally: Christ's ...Mass. "Christ's" is possessive, implying that the Mass is His. But as evangelicals, we'd agree that we as Spurgeon wrote: "We abhor the Mass" He said this in reference to KrissMass. He held this position at some point, but sadly, I think that he reluctantly succumbed to the pressure. What is done at the Mass has always been abhorred by the Protestants, I believe. Because, it says that when the Priest prays over the wine and bread it becomes the literal blood and body of Christ and that the people have to keep taking the Mass regularly because if they die, then their sins won't be atoned for, thus this Mass is a ritual atonement for their sins, nullifying Jesus work on the cross. This is why I cannot bring myself to say Christ...mas, because I'm combining my Saviour's title with an abomination. And the word Merry, implies gluttonous drunken merry making. We need to be set apart from the world, not join it, be lights in the darkness, instead partners with the deeds of darkness.
      2. Does the pagan religion associated with it still exist? If you consider RCC as pagan, then yes.
      3. Does the pagan religion still use this ritual or object to worship their false god? Yes, they have created a god, that is not the true God.
      4. Are you mimicking their false worship and simply substituting God's name? Most definitely. I'm sure that you'd agree that the RCC is full of pagan practices, and yet retain Jesus as their identity. There is a big move to join back with the RCC. I believe that this is all apart of the end times deception. When we say "Merry KrissMass" we are validating the RCC's false religious views. Love you, Gail. I love all your other stuff, you're most always spot on, but like I said, I felt like you were contradicting yourself with your denouncing pagan practices, yet practicing some yourself.

    5. Hi Teresa,

      I have to be honest with you. After so many repetitive comments on this and other devotions, I'm not sure I will continue to publish your comments. You say the same things in each comment and the fact that you made this comment without reading the resources I recommend tends to make me believe you are not really open to hearing any view that contradicts your views.

      So let this be my last explanation:

      I will briefly answer some of your questions but what I share in my conclusion is the most relevant thing in my comment.

      No, Christmas is not a pagan name.

      Christ is not a pagan word. It is the most holy name above all names and no pagan would ever name a celebration after Christ.

      Mass means “a celebration of the Eucharist” and Eucharist is defined as “the Christian ceremony commemorating the Last Supper.”

      Just because you don’t agree with how the Catholics celebrate the eucharist doesn’t mean the word eucharist becomes pagan.

      As in your other comments, Teresa, you are clearly and passionately anti-Catholic and you are comparing Christian words used by the Catholic Church to specific Catholic beliefs when the words in and of themselves are not owned by Catholics.

      So let me skip past your anti-Catholic remarks to your statement about the word Merry being a term used for drunkenness.

      The Hebrew word “sameach” means “glad, joyful, merry” and is used multiple times in the Old Testament, especially in Psalms and Proverbs. For example: Proverbs 15:13: “A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance” and Proverbs 17:22: “A merry heart does good, like medicine”

      The Greek word euphrainó means “to cheer, make merry” and it is multiple times in the New Testament, mostly in positive verses such as Luke 15:32.

      You are giving Satan ownership of words because the word is associated with something pagan and you are giving Catholics ownership of certain words because you don't agree with how they use it. If you are going to use that standard, then you must quit using the words sabbath, moon, sacrifice, prayer, hymns, water, holy, kneel, hail, Mary, blessed, cross, confession, etc.

      Those who believe like you about Christmas have done more to revive interest in ancient pagan holidays than any group I know. You are free to follow your conscience in this area, but you are not free to condemn those who have done careful research and found your claims to be unsubstantiated.

      You don’t know me. You don’t know how I celebrate Christmas. But you judge me as being involved in pagan worship. And this is the most important point of my comment: You have clearly violated Scripture:

      Colossians 2:16 says, “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.”

      Romans 14:5-10 says, “One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord... You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat.

  2. Dear Gail Madam, you have explicitly explained in simple manner where lay men can understand. Yes, one needs to understand the real meaning of celebrating any occasion in our culture. Well said , I really appreciate it & do hope you will share or blog with same spirit. Peter from Bhutan .