Sunday, April 24, 2016
Soul Food on April 24, 2016
Yesterday my personal Bible study took me to the Old Testament book of Judges where we observe a cycle of sin, repentance, and a return to sin. This happened over and again, over and again.
The Children of Israel had seen God do incredibly amazing things for them, including deliverance from four hundred years of slavery in Egypt, to drying up a large body of water so they could safely travel to the other side, watching their enemies drown in the water after they were safe on the other side, provision of a special heaven-sent food called “manna” while they wandered in a desert forty years, and the dispersal among them of a beautiful land for their new home.
Yet with all that in their history, the next generation forgot God, choosing to embrace the forbidden ways of their enemies, finding those lifestyles more satisfying than peace with God.
As a result of abandoning God and His directives, they became oppressed by their enemies. They forgot that God’s ways are protection for them.
God would then appoint a leader who would help them defeat their foes long enough for them to get a stable foothold once again.
But when that leader would die, they returned to their sinful ways, their enemies came in like a flood, and this cycle repeated itself many times.
While at first pass it would seem they needed more leaders to influence them in paths of righteousness to keep the enemies at bay, what they really needed was a heart change — a transformation within themselves and not just a hero to lead them.
I see some lessons here with regard to our nation as we seek a leader to get us out of the sinful mire and enemy threats that are drowning us. Godly men and women have been seeking political offices, and I am thankful for them. But what we really need is more than a good leader. We need heart change within every single one of us.
We cannot stand at a distance from Holy God forever. Sooner or later (and now is the time), our personal alienation from God surfaces and it is revealed just what kind of a people we really are. That’s the way it works.
Judges 2:15 says, “Whenever the Israelites went out, the LORD was against them and brought disaster on them, just as He had promised and sworn to them. So they suffered greatly.”
The shootings, riots, political decisions about sexual matters, natural disasters — all of that has picked up at an alarming pace in recent years, months, and now in weeks. This past week my area remembered the Columbine school shootings that happened 17 years ago. It is deeply sobering to reflect on how many similar tragedies have occurred since then all over our nation, including more of the same less than 10 miles from where it all began at Columbine!!
We are not waking up to the real reason for this harm we are experiencing. People are refusing to recognize that God cannot bless a people who are not obeying Him. Yes, He is a most loving God and that is why He has instructed us how to live. HIs ways are His love for us. So when we stray from His ordinances, it naturally follows that harm comes to us.
We can get out of entrapment to sin by turning as individuals to Holy God, confessing our rebellion and submitting to Him. That’s all it takes.
If we confess our sins,
He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
I John 1:9 NASB