Can God Get Glory from My Life?
by Dominique Henderson
The other day I was listening to a respected theologian talk about the Israelite’s failure to receive the full blessing of the Promised Land. As I pondered his points it made me think of why that happened and how it could happen. How could a people that had experienced the many miracles of God right before their eyes not receive what he promised to their forefathers? Abraham had received a covenant promise from the Lord that his seed would be great and that whey would inherit the Promised Land. What happened? DISOBEDIENCE. Why after crossing the Red Sea, receiving manna from heaven and all the other countless mercies of God did they fail at completing the task? DISOBEDIENCE. In Judges 17:6 and Judges 21:25, there is an interesting theme that reverberates throughout the entire book: “every man did what was right in his own eyes”. But you may ask why they would do that. Did they not receive instruction from God about what to do and how to live? Yes they did. In Deuteronomy 30:11-20, God warns the Israelite people of what to avoid in order to receive the blessing. Also in Deuteronomy 29:15-68, there is a long list of cursings for those that chose to disobey his laws. So it is clear that they did have instructions on what to do. But I believe that part of their problem—like all humans—is that as they began to experience prosperity that they turned their hearts away from God in pride and disobedience. So, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight some of their failures that I have identified with as to hopefully help someone not make the same mistakes. I believe it is important to learn these lessons in order to not walk the same path of disobedience.
First, I think the most classic problem of the Israelites even prior to entering the Promised Land, where they allowed their disobedience and pride to reach another level, was their misunderstanding of what God wanted to do for them. They had been slaves in Egypt for 400 years, and they needed a savior. God, through Moses was their savior from that bondage. But at they were rescued from Egypt, God brought them to the desert to speak to them about being Lord over them. More than anything, God wanted not just to save them but to be in relationship with them. This was his desire from the beginning—relationship with man. But this is where they had the problem. They were fine with being saved but didn’t necessarily want the rules that came with that salvation. God always gives us rules that are part of a bigger plan for our lives. It is always for our good (see Jeremiah 29:11). However, the deficit in our human nature makes us think we should look out for ourselves and not trust anyone else—including God. So we resist and rebel the rules God has for us and we end up disobeying him. God gives the Ten Commandments to the Israelites to help them understand relationship with him and relationship with their neighbor but they resist and start breaking the law. Ultimately, this lawlessness carries on for years and years and they end up back in slavery to the Babylonians centuries later. LESSON #1: ALWAYS TRUST GOD’S PLAN FOR MY LIFE.
The second problem I identified is the procrastination or fear that the Israelites possessed. It also seems to me that this fear stemmed from their inability to trust God. Naturally, when I rely on myself to do something instead of the power that sustains all life, I am going to have lowered confidence. This is because my confidence is now in myself and not in Almighty God. So in Judges 1, when it came time to conquer the rest of the land (see Joshua 13:1-5), the Israelites procrastinated because of fear and did not go in and conquer their enemies as God had instructed them. (There is that disobedience again!) Only 2 tribes followed God’s commandment and received their inheritance. The rest where forced to share and co-habitate with the enemy that God told them to drive out. The application for me was so clear here. God has instructed me to conquer enemies (e.g. strongholds of pride, various addictions, etc.) in my life. He has empowered me with his Word and Spirit, but if I choose to be fearful instead of faithful, I will be forced to live with my enemies. I forfeit the full blessing of God and the freedom from my enemies because of my FEAR. Cohabitation [with my enemy] inevitably leads to compromise [with my God] which leads to more disobedience to God. This is what the other tribes experienced in not following God’s command. LESSON #2: FAILURE TO FOLLOW GOD COMPLETELY IS COMPROMISE.
….to be continued….
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