"For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem's sake I will not remain quiet, till her righteousness shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch."
My Father in heaven is blazing a new trail for me in my journey of Reading-the-Whole-Bible-in-2013 program. Right now I'm in the book of Judges and I have tears in my eyes because
I have the presence of the Holy Spirit in me and my heart and mind are responding to what I have been reading. It's grievous: Total Depravity then and Total Depravity now. And folks, I cannot keep silent. Hey! Someone please consider calling 911 because I have a fire in my heart! I love my Father in heaven, I love His people the church, I have a desire for the lost to be found. And I am seeing we're blinded by our pride. Lord have mercy on us all because I KNOW there is a cure for such wickedness.
I'm reading familiar verses in my daily reading but I'm am seeing them in a whole new way! The LORD is opening the eyes of my heart and I am seeing two major things consistently: 1 -- The unfathomable love and unstoppable power of a Holy God; and 2- How horribly wicked mankind is! Make no mistake, we were created to worship GOD and our deceitful hearts lust for idols instead. I'm reading this over and over and over in the Old Testament, and as I mentioned, I'm only in the book of Judges. That's enough for me to take in right now -- but I cannot keep silent about this. I am a member of the Body of Christ which also makes me the light of the world. I am called by my Savior to carry on His work of shining His light in this dark world.
In Judges 8, the Israelites were saved from the hands of their enemies, the Midianites, and they wanted Gideon, his son and grandson to rule over them. (ESV commentary: 'He was such an outstanding judge that the people wished to make him king.') Gideon told them, "I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The LORD will rule over you." (Judges 8:23). He was right about that. (EVS commentary: 'Kingship in Israel was a mistake. Yet Judges demonstrates that it had become necessary. With no king society disintegrated').
However, Gideon -- who was not a king -- acted like a king when he asked the men to give him their golden earrings as a reward for leading them to victory over their enemies. He recieved about 43 pounds of gold in addition to ornaments, pendants and purple garments. "Gideon made an ephod of it and put it in his city, in Ophrah. And all Israel whored after it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and to his family." (Judges 8:27) Whoa! "Whored?" On top of that, Gideon's father was an idolater (Judges 6:25) and now Gideon fell into the same sin.
I use different versions of the Bible when I study to see what other translations say and when I read "whored" in the ESV Reformation Study Bible, it opened my eyes to how grevious idolatry is and how easily mankind falls into it. (ESV commentary says, 'Gideon, the greatest of the judges until Samuel, gave the people occasion to sin.') Then it referred to Judges 2:16-23 which says, "The Lord raised up judges who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them...Yet, they did not listen to their judges for they whored after other gods and bowed down to them...the LORD was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them. But whenever the judge died, they turned back and were more corrupt than their fathers, going after other gods, serving them and bowing down to them."
This stuff sounds w-a-a-a-a-y too familiar. LORD, have mercy in U.S. LORD, have mercy on mankind.
What's the cure for prideful hearts -- for mankind's whoredom? It's this: "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14).
It's time for GOD's people to bow the knee to faithfully pray and then to rise up and tell our own stories...and every one of our stories ends with "Jesus Saves."
For His Glory,
Copyright 2013 Totally Devoted 3 - #23 by Polly Balint