What causes a next generation to follow after other gods? What causes a person who was walking with the Lord to wile out? In the second message from our sermon series Darkness & Light we see how there was spiritual degeneration when God became small in the hearts of the Israelites. This does not mean that they didn’t know who God was. They knew about God and they heard about the miracles, but God no longer had weight in their hearts. In other words, they knew about him ritualistically but not relationally. As God became small, replacement gods became big in their hearts. Those who are seeking to have influence over their surroundings must have a genuine love for God, apply the Gospel in everyday life, and glory in God’s story in their life. Is God being big in our hearts a gift or a responsibility? YES (meaning both)! It is a gift because of how divine lasik surgery enables us to see God’s glory, but there is also a responsibility in that we need to continue to pursue the circumcision of our hearts.
What is God’s response to spiritual degeneration? There is judgment. Some may find that God’s judgment is unjust, but Scripture makes it clear that his judgment is actually a token of his faithfulness as he had warned and sworn. If you think that what you’ve read in the book of Judges is too violent, there is a place far more violent, where the wicked violence of the ages fell – the cross. The cross is where God himself bore all the sins of the people who rebelled against him. However, because God bore his own judgment, he can now extend his mercy. The same God who heard the groaning of the Israelites in Egyptian slavery, who heard the groaning of his people in slavery of the Canaanites 400 years later, is the same God who hears our groaning, has pity on use, and delivers us. Jesus is a present tense savior who hears our groaning again, again, and again. We’ve all wondered and complained to God why he wouldn’t just take away the source of our temptations. As a fatherly teacher, God at times doesn’t remove the source of our temptations to test to see if we really trust him and to teach us how to fight against sin as we depend upon him. We see that the Israelites failed the test. The issue is not whether or not we struggle with our sins. Rather, it is whether or not we will fight against sin out of Christ’s victory. As we fight, we will grow in the reality of the assurance that we truly belong to the Lord. You can listen to this message from Pastor Mike on Judges 2:6-3:6 HERE.
A quick update on Pastor Clete! As Pastor Mike said during announcements, Pastor Clete was at Meadow Brook Church in Leamington, ON Canada. He had great conversations with Pastor Greg Allen and made some great connections. Let us continue to pray for Pastor Clete!