Monday, February 3, 2014

"A Generation who knows not the Lord!"

Day #38:  Daily Bible Reading Plan - February 4th

Scripture Reading:  Judges 1 - 6 ...

That there is one true God used to be the accepted truth by the majority of those in our nation.  Religious diversity has perhaps been commonplace in other nations of the world, and to some extent in our own, yet something "new" has occurred in the past few decades: a turning away from the one true God, our Creator, who has revealed Himself in His creation, in His Word and in His Son, Jesus Christ. More and more and more people believe that it doesn't matter what you believe ... or IF you believe.  All of this points to one of two things:  judgment from God ... or the soon return of Jesus and judgment from God.  While that doesn't sound like much of an option, it is the reality of God's dealing with those who turn away from Him.

The first few chapters of the book of Judges explains this shift in Israel.  Chapter one records that when the tribes of Israel first entered the land God had promised to them, "the LORD was with them" (1:19,22).  But then the Israelites disobeyed God by failing to drive the people who lived in the land out of the land, as God had told them to do.  God told them, "They will be thorns in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you" (2:3).  This may be hard for some people to accept.  What right did the Israelites have to this land in the first place?  That question continues to be asked today!  The answer is in Genesis 12-17:  God promised the land to Abraham and his descendants.  How could God do this?  Questions such as these often arise because people have not read the Bible and do not know the God who is holy and just, and who carries out judgment on those who do not worship Him.

It is impossible to understand God's judgment unless you believe He is worthy of worship and perfect obedience, and that those who worship other gods bring His just judgment upon them.  When you understand that, you quickly realize the implications of Judges 2:10:  "After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what He had done for Israel."  This was a people who had received every possible blessing from the LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and had then disobeyed His Word and turned and worshiped idols, the gods of the nations around them.

God brought judgment on Israel ... but He did not abandon them.  Now we read, "Whenever Israel went out to fight, the hand of the LORD was against them to defeat them" (2:15).  Having the one true God fighting against you is a scary proposition.  Still God showed His mercy and grace.  As the people were oppressed by their enemies and cried out to the LORD, He heard them and sent "Judges" to deliver them.  But as soon as God saved them from their enemies, they settled into their everyday lives again, forgot about the LORD, their God, and turned once again to idols.

How much like them are we today?  God has sent the message of salvation throughout the world, beginning in Jerusalem following the resurrection of Jesus, and extending throughout the nations.  Is there a nation today where the Gospel has not been proclaimed?  One God, one Savior, one way to come to God - through faith in Jesus Christ.  Those who believe are saved, no matter what nation they live in or what language they speak, or what race they may be.  But those who do not believe will face God's judgment.

God's wrath and judgment are already being seen in many ways in our nation and the nations of the world.  Only repentance, confessing our sin and turning from it, placing our faith in Jesus Christ, can bring God's forgiveness and even deliver a nation from His judgment.  God knows those who are His and calls us to come to Him, to worship Him, to serve Him, to proclaim His name and to trust Him ... as we wait and watch for His judgment to come.

Find your hope in the LORD, the God of Israel, the God of all who believe in His Son Jesus Christ, the only true God.  He is worthy of your praise, your worship and your love!

"Father, help us to teach our children to know You, to love You and to serve You!  Pour out Your Spirit upon those who are truly Your people today, that we may be faithful to You, our God.  Forgive us our sins and renew our strength to serve You and to proclaim Your name to the nations.  In Jesus' name, Amen"

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