“When Ehud was dead, the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD.” Judges 4:1
“Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD. So the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian for seven years, so Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites, and the children of Israel cried out to the LORD.” Judges 6:1,6
“So it was, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel again played the harlot with the Baals, and made Baal-Berith their god. Thus the children of Israel did not remember the LORD their God, who had delivered them from the hands of all their enemies on every side; nor did they show kindness to the house of Jerubbaal (Gideon) in accordance with the good he had done for Israel.” Judges 8:33-35
I’m studying the book of Judges in my personal worship time, and every time I read a verse like these, my heart sags. Not literally, of course, but you know the feeling! Again??? When will they get it? Can’t they see all He’s done for them? Is their memory that bad? Why don’t they understand that God is so much better than any other god?
Then I am filled with shame. Who am I to speak? When will I get it? Why do I often follow after “the pleasures of sin for a moment”? Can’t I see all that He has done for me? Is my memory that bad? Why don’t I understand that God is so much better than any other thing I set up in my heart as a god?
Even greater is my shame than those of the people of Israel. I have even more to remember. I, who deserved eternal punishment, and was not one of the chosen people of Israel, have been grafted into the family of God by His grace and His Son’s death on the cross. I, an enemy of God, was brought near and redeemed by no merit of my own. And NOW, after all this, His Spirit lives in me, guiding me, convicting me, illumining me, and giving me strength to live as Christ showed me how to live. AND Jesus is preparing an eternal home for me, where I shall dwell forever with Him!
And yet, I still sin. Though I am a sinner, I cannot use that as a cop-out answer.
Romans 6:11 “Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 6:13 “And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.”
Romans 7:3 “But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.”
Romans 8:5-8 “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
As a believer, I am dead to sin. Dead. So now, every time I sin, it is a choice to follow the flesh. It’s not that I can’t help it, but that I choose to do it.
I want my sin to bother me as much as the Israelite’s sin bothers me in the book of Judges. May I see it for what it is: direct rebellion against God, choosing another God, missing the mark of God’s holiness.
It is my desire that my life be characterized by Judges 10:16 (“So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the LORD.”) instead of Judges 10:6 (“Then the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served the Baals … and they forsook the LORD and did not serve Him.”)
May my memory of Christ’s sacrifice compel me to serve Him and not to sin.