Monday, August 13, 2012

That Pesky Thorn! (Part One)

Altars and Thorns Steal Victory
This past Sunday, one of the Scripture readings was taken from Judges 2.  Verses 1-3 caught my attention, not because of the Old Testament context, but for the New Testament application.  The fact is, these three verses have a lot to say to us today.  Let’s look at them.
“…I said, ‘I will never break My covenant with you, and as for you, you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars.’ But you have not obeyed me; what is this you have done?”
“Therefore I also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; but they shall become as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare to you.’” (NASB)
First of all, we see that God made a covenant, a promise, to His people.  He promised to be their God, to give them protection and victory as long as they followed Him.  The people, for their part, were to make no covenant, no compromise, with the inhabitants of the land.  The altars, the places and objects of worship of other gods were to be torn down.
God’s people did not obey in this regard, and there were consequences.  Because of their compromise and disobedience, they would no longer have victory over their enemies.  Instead, those things they allowed to remain would be like thorns in their sides, a constant source of trouble, frustration, and temptation.
That is the Old Testament context. On this side of the cross, we are not told to go to battle with human enemies.  Believers in Jesus are not in the business of destroying other people’s places of worship.  If anyone is in that business, they should get out of it.
We are, however, in a very real battle with spiritual enemies.  Some face recognizable enemies such as addictions, compulsions, and uncontrolled rage leading to violence. Others may be confronted by bitterness, lack of forgiveness, pride, temptation to overeat, laziness, and ungodly thoughts.  The list could go on and on. Temptation to slide into any of these areas can be very strong.
In an earlier post, Harley Junior and I Find a Way of Escape, I suggested that sometimes, we fail to resist or flee from temptation because, to be honest, the temptation may be leading us to something that brings pleasure in some form.  Pornography, getting high, and even that second piece of chocolate cake could all fall into this category.  At the very least, giving in to the temptation might make us feel more powerful, or help us forget something painful for a while. The trouble is that when we compromise with those spiritual enemies, when we allow them to remain near us, they will most certainly gain in power and become like a thorn in our sides.
Join me tomorrow as I share how I learned a powerful lesson about how compromise can result in a very persistent “thorn”.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Any thoughts on this post? I would love to hear from you.

Gadgets By Spice Up Your Blog