“Now it came to pass, when they had heard the law, that they separated from Israel all the mixed multitude.”
Several years ago, when I was a young boy, we had a dog who always tried to get out of the fence. One night while my family was eating supper, someone knocked on the door. My father told me to go and see who was at the door. When I answered the door, it was our next-door neighbor who wanted to inform us that our dog was stuck on top of the fence. I thanked her and went back to the table to eat my food. My father asked me who was at the door and what they wanted; when I told him, he asked me why I had not checked on the dog. I told my dad that dogs don’t climb fences and that there was no way this could be true. My dad then told me to go and check on the dog, and to my surprise, sure enough, the dog was stuck on top of the fence. He had literally climbed the chain-link fence and got two paws over the fence until he realized he was stuck.
This story of my dog best illustrates the mixed multitude mentioned in the verse above. The mixed multitude were people who had married either an Ammonite or a Moabite. Both of these tribes were cursed from the beginning. They were the children of Lot who were born out of a sinful relationship with his daughters. Because these people had hired Balaam to curse Israel, and they refused to give bread to Israel when they were traveling through the wilderness, God commanded that nobody that came from these tribes should ever enter into the congregation of the LORD.
The mixed multitude always caused problems for Israel. The problem with the mixed multitude was that they wanted the best of both worlds. They wanted to enjoy the sin of the world, but they also wanted to enjoy the blessings that come from serving God. Sadly, many people are just like this mixed multitude who are stuck on top of the fence between serving God and enjoying the pleasures of the world. Let me give you a couple of warnings about straddling the fence between serving God and living in the world.
First, you will never experience God’s blessings by playing in the world and trying to be spiritual at the same time. My friend, the world and God have nothing in common. You can’t please God and live in the world at the same time. You are either going to displease God by living in the world, or you are going to please God and be hated by the world. You can’t be blessed by God and liked by the world at the same time. God says in 2 Corinthians 6:17, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,” God’s people are never to live in the world; they are to come out of the world to serve God. If you want God’s blessings on your life, you cannot mix your life with the world and God at the same time.
Second, you can’t live a mixed life and expect your children to live for God. Your children will always choose the pathway of least resistance. If they see you playing in the world, they will go to the world. Not only will they go to the world, but they will also marry into the world. Many people have lived in heartache because they chose to live the mixed life. My friend, stop trying to straddle the fence and stay on the LORD’s side. God’s blessings are experienced when you live within the confines of His Word. Don’t let the lure of the other side of the fence cause you to get stuck on top of the fence of compromise.