“Then the Angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said: “I led you up from Egypt and brought you to the land of which I swore to your fathers; and I said, ‘I will never break My covenant with you. And you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars.’ But you have not obeyed My voice. Why have you done this? Therefore I also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; but they shall be thorns in your side, and their gods shall be a snare to you.’ ” So it was, when the Angel of the Lord spoke these words to all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voices and wept. Then they called the name of that place Bochim; and they sacrificed there to the Lord. And when Joshua had dismissed the people, the children of Israel went each to his own inheritance to possess the land.”
Judges 2:1-6 NKJV
There have been moments when the Lord has given me a clear command through HIs word, and I have chosen and done what was right in my own eyes. In my disobedience, I have seen the consequence of my actions played out in the form of diminished blessing, at the very least, and desolation at the most.
I find myself looking back at that critical moment, when I parted ways with the will of God, and I can see all the compromises along the way. In the passages I read this morning, the children of Israel had gone on without Joshua, who had died. They had failed to eliminate their enemies as the Lord had commanded them, but had instead made pacts with them.
When the Angel of the Lord, the pre-incarnate Christ, confronted them, they wept over the reality that He was no longer to go before them, defeating Israel’s enemies, and that those who remained would be a thorn in their side.
They were to be a people surrounded by enemies, for they neglected the calling the Lord had given them. They did not lose the covenant, but they would not know the joy of the Lord. Over time, they turned from the will of God, and went after the gods of those that surrounded them.
“Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals; and they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; and they followed other gods from among the gods of the people who were all around them, and they bowed down to them; and they provoked the Lord to anger. They forsook the Lord and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel. So He delivered them into the hands of plunderers who despoiled them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, so that they could no longer stand before their enemies. Wherever they went out, the hand of the Lord was against them for calamity, as the Lord had said, and as the Lord had sworn to them. And they were greatly distressed.”
Judges 2:11-15 NKJV
As I read this morning, I found myself seeing applications for the followers of Jesus. Israel is a type and shadow for each of us, as we face our own individual and corporate enemies. We live in a world that is full of idols, each beckoning us to come and worship, and forsake the God who saved us.
Like the children of Israel, we have become surrounded by those enemies, and they are constantly a thorn in our flesh. The root of our problems is in our disobedience, both individually and corporately, as we have chosen to ignore the great commandment given us by our Savior Jesus.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.”
Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV
In the centuries since the beginning of the church of the First Born, we have strayed from the calling, and have chosen to seek power in this world. Along they way we have made pacts with the devil, as we have compromised for political expediency.
On the individual level, we have sought to find favor, to fit in, to not appear peculiar, thought the Lord has call us to be just that.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Romans 12:1-2 NKJV
We are to be apart from the world, living as sacrifices, yielded to the will of God in all things. As we a result of our disobedience to the Call, we live in a world that is full of sin, and is showing decline.
Just think if we had been faithful, if we had gone out to spread the Gospel, to take the word of God consistently into all the world. The answer for us is like unto the answer for the children of Israel, as many lives would have been transformed, and many people, now lost, addicted, caught up in alternative and destructive lifestyles, would have lives that add value to a new and different world, one filled with righteousness.
Brothers and sisters, it is not too late. Just as the Lord left room for repentance for the children of Israel, He has great blessing for us today. He promised that if they had turned back to Him, He would bless.
“if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
II Chronicles 7:14 NKJV
This passage does not speak to any nation but Israel in the context it was written, but it is applicable in the life of the Christian, for those things written of before are for our instruction.
If we turn from our wicked ways and toward God, He will show His power in us. As we become healed, delivers from
lingering sin, we become more fruitful, for the glory of Jesus shines through us more vibrantly, making our witness more valid and drawing sinners to Jesus.
The more people come to Christ, become fruitful disciples, then are sent out. the world we live in will inevitably change.
There is little time. The Lord is returning soon, and those who call upon the Lord have little time to be about the Father’s business. It is now time to go and fulfill the calling of the Lord, to evangelize and lead people to salvation in Jesus and away from hell.
It is believed that the greatest outpouring of grace will come in the end times, in the period before the Lord comes back.
Justice is coming to the world, my people, and the signs are everywhere. God will judge the enemies, and put away all when the Judgement comes. May we be people who are found faithful when the Lord returns.
May our weeping be tears of joy, and not sadness over what we failed to do for the Lord, or those loved ones who have gone to hell, having not heard the Gospel from us.
“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.””
Revelation 21:4 NKJV
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