Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Two Idols and the One True God.

In Judges 4, we see once again that the Israelites turn away from God.
Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, now that Ehud was dead. So the Lord sold them into the hands of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. Sisera, the commander of his army, was based in Harosheth Haggoyim. Because he had nine hundred chariots fitted with iron and had cruelly oppressed the Israelites for twenty years, they cried to the Lord for help.
What we see here are two idols and the one and only true God.

  • The first Idol is Israel's idol.
They did evil in the eyes of the Lord. They rebelled against God and went back to sinning. They rejected him and refused to obey him and live as his people anymore. Throughout the book of Judges (and the whole Old Testament) Israel continually turns away from God and rejects him. They prefer to live their own way. They prefer to do what they want to do.

That's the same as us isn't it? We prefer to live our way. We think that our way is better. That we can turn to God later (maybe if it suits us), but for the moment we'll live how we want, doing what we want, when we want to do it. We don't want to stand up to our friends when they are sinning, we'd prefer to ignore it or even to join in. We don't want to obey God when he commands us not to do things, we'd prefer to do it our way.

The result: Israel is enslaved by a foreign king (like God had said they would be) and oppressed. Even if we are not punished for rejecting God here on earth, then there is eternal judgement in hell after we die because we all sin and we all deserve God's wrath. But there is hope in Jesus, and there is complete forgiveness. At the end of those verses we read that Israel calls to God for help. That's what we need to do.

  • The second idol is Jabin's idol.
He trusts in his strength. He trusts in his chariots. He doesn't submit to God because he thinks he is strong enough to do whatever he wants (similar to Israel).

Again, that's us so often isn't it? We trust in money, or in friendships, or in our knowledge, or like Jabin, in our strength. I find that so often I trust in my friends and want their approval. But these things cannot save. They cannot satisfy us (because we could always have more and better friendships and strength and wealth) and they cannot save because our problem isn't physical. It's spiritual. And none of these things mean anything once we die.

  • The One True God.
Near the end of the chapter we read this:
Then Deborah said to Barak, “Go! This is the day the Lord has given Sisera into your hands. Has not the Lord gone ahead of you?” So Barak went down Mount Tabor, with ten thousand men following him. At Barak’s advance, the Lord routed Sisera and all his chariots and army by the sword, and Sisera got down from his chariot and fled on foot.
 Israel had called to God for help and he helped them. That's what we need to do. God is the only true God. Idols are nothing, they cannot save us. God is stronger than any strength we can have. His way is better than our way. He reigns - call to him for help. He can save from sin! He sent Jesus to die in our place so that if we turn to him then Jesus takes our sin and he takes God's wrath and we are forgiven.

Psalm 20:7-8

Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm.

Jabin trusted in his chariots and his strength and God defeated him.
Israel turned from their idol and called to God and he saved them.

If you do not trust in God then you will be brought to your knees in judgement eternally. If you do trust him then take heart! He reigns and he saves completely!

What do you trust in?

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