Scripture Nugget 2.7.2017
Scripture Read Judges 1-6
Nugget Judges 2:1-5, 7, 10-14, 22-23
“Now the angel of the LORD went up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, ‘I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you into the land that I had promised to your ancestors. I said, “I will never break my covenant with you. For your part, do not make a covenant with the inhabitants of this land; tear down their altars.” But you have not obeyed my command. See what you have done! So now I say, I will not drive them out before you; but they shall become adversaries to you, and their gods shall be a snare to you.’ When the angel of the LORD spoke these words to all the Israelites, the people lifted up their voices and wept. So they named the place Bochim, and there they sacrificed to the LORD. …. The people worshiped the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great work that the LORD had done for Israel. …. Moreover, that whole generation was gathered to their ancestors, and another generation grew up after them, who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and worshiped the Baals; and they abandoned the LORD, the God of their ancestors, who brought them out of the land of Egypt; they followed other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were all around them, and bowed down to them; and they provoked the LORD to anger. They abandoned the LORD, and worshiped Baal and the Astartes. So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he gave them over to plunderers who plundered them, and he sold them into the power of their enemies all around, so that they could no longer withstand their enemies. …. In order to test Israel, whether or not they would take care to walk in the way of the LORD as their ancestors did, the LORD left those nations, not driving them out at once, and had not handed them over to Joshua.”
Devotional thought: While much of the present political discussion is on immigration and whether or not to build a wall; there is a much more important issue to explore. Whose are we? Who do we follow? Who do we allow to influence our lives? Is God, Lord of our lives, does God set the boundaries and do we submit to those boundaries or do we allow others to re-write the rules? Are we letting sinful people to influence our lives because we will not stand against idol worship, sinful behavior, and social practices that distract us/others from worshipping God? Formal prayer removed from schools, after school activities and little league take priority over Wednesday night services, children’s sports overshadow Sunday morning worship, our toys and hobbies distract our focus from God. Yes, God in His mercy and wisdom gives us a choice. The fact that we can say no to Him is huge. As a seminary professor of mine often says, “If we didn’t have the choice to say no, our ‘Yes’ would be meaningless.” The truth of the matter is this, when we say no, even once – just temporarily, we have separated ourselves from God, we have broken the covenant the weakened the kingdom. Yes, we are to love our enemies, but loving them does not mean accepting their sin, their worship of other gods and allowing them to distract us from our relationship with God. Will we, do we walk in the way of the LORD? Or are we distracted?