June 13, 2014

“In those days Israel did not have a king. Everyone did what seemed right.” – Judges 21:25

The book of Judges follows the book of Joshua, a man who not only led the people of Israel into the Promised Land (the nation of Israel), but also served the Lord faithfully throughout his lifetime.

In the book of Judges we find a generation of people who had talked themselves out of Joshua’s game plan, which was to acknowledge God’s authority in every area of life. In essence they rejected God’s perfect plan for their life, resulting in painful consequences. Because of their disobedience the people of Israel became a miserably oppressed people. Their misery would eventually reach a tipping point and when it did they would to cry out to the Lord as in Judges 3:9. In response to their plea our merciful Lord would ordain and send a Judge (in some cases a military leader) such as Othniel to pull an army together among the Israelites to remove their oppressors through force! The result would be a people who followed the Lord, but only for period of time (whether that be 40 years or 80 years) before they would again begin a life of compromise, which in turn led to oppression. Scripture shows that the onset of the cycle began with “The children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord,” and this cycle occurred seven times in the book of Judges – 2:11, 3:7,12; 4:1; 6:1; 10:6; & 13:1.

Forgetting the Lord’s faithfulness and opting for compromise and/or self-sufficiency will lead to a victim status, rather than a victor status! Compromise like this does not work! It never has and never will because when the Lord is removed from the equation the result is oppression and eventually death! God’s Word makes this clear. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12). “Don’t move an ancient boundary marker that your fathers setup” (Proverbs 22:28).

Today, moral relativism and an unwillingness to acknowledge the most basic standards of absolute right and wrong have led America down a destructive path. Look around, abortion is a right and every year kills about as many American’s who have died on the battlefield in all the wars the U.S. has ever fought. It’s become widely accepted for couples to live together outside of a marriage commitment, and it is becoming more and more acceptable for homosexuals to marry. We have also become a politically correct culture whose mantra is tolerance or else! It has become painfully clear that in most every instance where Biblical values were up for a vote, the American people have chosen to reject them. What’s worse is that by in large the Church is no longer salt and light, but salt less and as dark as the culture we live. Unfortunately, many Christians have compromised and conceded to a point that we no longer stand out …we are no longer attractive to those who do not know Christ!

The apostle Paul said that he was unable to do what he wished, but rather did the very thing he hated (Romans 7:15). Paul explains in Galatians 5 and throughout Ephesians how we are empowered to live as the Lord would have us live. “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).
However, if we continue to choose to live in the flesh and do whatever we think is right in our own eyes, we have rationalized our sin. A lesson from the book of Judges is that oppression and misery will follow continued disobedience …I think we’ve had fair warning.

Moses’ words to the people of Israel was a warning that was not taken to heart and the people of Israel suffered as a result of their life of compromise. “Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe His commands, His laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God….” (Deuteronomy 8:11-14).

Does it not make sense to heed these words today?

As a believer you have Victor status, because you are empowered in Christ through the Spirit.