Scripture Read: Judges 8:28-35 So Midian was subdued before the sons of Israel, and they did not lift up their heads anymore. And the land was undisturbed for forty years in the days of Gideon. Then Jerubbaal the son of Joash went and lived in his own house. Now Gideon had seventy sons who were his direct descendants, for he had many wives. His concubine who was in Shechem also bore him a son, and he named him Abimelech. And Gideon the son of Joash died at a ripe old age and was buried in the tomb of his father Joash, in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. Then it came about, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the sons of Israel again played the harlot with the Baals, and made Baal-berith their god. Thus the sons 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 household of Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) in accord with all the good that he had done to Israel.
I know the normal reaction toward Israel is shock, and we think “how can these people be sooooooo stubborn?” Keep that question in the back of your mind. First let’s examine what Israel is doing.
Define: Idolator - A person that admires or loves intensely and often blindly an object not usually a subject of worship.
Of course our definition would be more focused: A person that worships anything or anyone except the God of the Bible.
In other-words, finding your dependence from a different source other than God. Whenever we lose a daily dependence on God we need to move quickly to see what has replaced Him. In the wilderness, God had taught Israel to depend everyday on Him for every need they had. Their food only lasted a day, water was supplied through a rock, their clothes did not decay due to God’s sustaining power, even the guidance they needed to know, when to move and in which direction was given at that moment only. This was a forty-year lesson. Yet, God knows how we are made, so he gave them a warning.
Deuteronomy 8:1–14… “Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands. Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. For all these forty years your clothes didn’t wear out, and your feet didn’t blister or swell. Think about it: Just as a parent disciplines a child, the Lord your God disciplines you for your own good… When you have eaten your fill, be sure to praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. “But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today. For when you have become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in, and when your flocks and herds have become very large and your silver and gold have multiplied along with everything else, be careful! Do not become proud at that time and forget the Lord your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt.
What Israel did was – when they were suffering they called out to God. After He delivered them and brought “Good Times” back to them, they would forget Him and return to their sinful ways. Why did they do this? Perhaps a more honest question is “why do I do this?” Because I do…and I am sure you do also. The answer is simple, the solution is simple…but doing it is difficult. Flesh…its all about the flesh! When our flesh suffers it will do anything to relieve that suffering, including yielding to our new nature which will seek God. Once God has shown mercy and forgiven us…we return to a more normal lifestyle…that’s when the flesh will try to flex its muscles again and have its own way. The solution is simple – be filled with the Holy Spirit of God moment by moment.
Galatians 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.
The reason this is difficult is that it requires a disciplined thought life where we must remain God conscious 24/7. That is why it is important to talk to God the moment you wake up for your day. Just go to the throne quickly and ask God to take control of your day. The more God conscious you are through the day, when you do sin, the easier it will be to see it, confess and repent and ask the Spirit to fill (control) you again. When we become complacent in our walk with God – we will do exactly what we saw Israel do. Remember, our God is forgiving, however, when we choose sin, God may chastise and we will also taste the consequence of that sin even if God spares the rod. Let’s learn from Israel, so we won’t have to learn the hard way!
Meditation Questions: What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? How often do you talk to the Lord during a day? Do you ever have a scripture on your mind during the day? How often? What ways could you keep a scripture close to you so you can meditate on it during the day? What do you do with your nights? Is God involved with that? What does it look like? When was the last time you asked the Holy Spirit to fill you? What was the last lesson you learned from the last sin you repented of?