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Monday, December 13, 2010

I Messed Up Again!

I've been making my way steadily through the Old Testament in my Bible reading. This time through, I decided to implement a plan that will take me through the Bible in chronological order. It's been very interesting. I'm currently in the book of Judges, and I've noticed quite a trend.

It seems like every other chapter (sometimes more), I'll come across this phrase, "And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord." Over and over again! God delivers them, and they're happy for a little while, but then they turn back to their false gods. Hard times come, and you'll find Israel right back on their knees, pleading for God to deliver them and promising that they'll be true to Him this time. But it never lasts. This has been going on for generations! When will they get the point. Better yet, when will I?

As much as I want to find fault with the children of Israel, I have to admit that I'm just as guilty. If God was writing down my story, I have no doubt that every other page would read, "And Dana did evil again in the sight of the Lord." No, I don't worship Baal, but I do turn to chocolate for comfort instead of turning to God. I trust in my own knowledge instead of trusting in God's. I fail to give Him the praise He deserves. I stumble and fall every single day. Then I accuse Him of not taking care of me as He promised in His Word. I go on to plead with Him to deliver me from the mess I've made and promise that I'll listen to Him from now on. Sound familiar? Unfortunately, I am no better than the children of Israel, and it really convicts me when I read through these many passages. My first thought is to condemn them for their hard hearts, but then God touches my heart and helps me to see that I act the same way. The process is eye-opening and heart-breaking.

I'm so glad I serve a merciful God! There comes a point when God says, "Fine! I've had enough!" like in Judges 10:11-14. And the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Did not I deliver you from the Egyptians, and from the Amorites, from the children of Ammon, and from the Philistines? The Zidonians also, and the Amalekites, and the Maonites, did oppress you; and ye cried to me, and I delivered you out of their hand. Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more. Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation.

Was God being cruel? Absolutely not. He was giving them what they wanted. They wanted to worship other Gods, so God said, "Fine, call on them!" He certainly showed them more patience than you or I would have. But even after all they had done, and even after He had spoken these words, look at what verse 16 says, And they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the LORD: and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.

God still felt sorry for them. He still answered their prayers. He gave them another chance. What a loving and merciful God! With such a wonderful God, why would we long to serve another?

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