“When the angel of the Lord had spoken these things to all the Israelites, the people wept aloud, and they called that place Bokim. There they offered sacrifices to the Lord.” (Judges2:4–5)
God’s people were transitioning from a bunch of nomadic tribes, into a community of tribes, that had agreed to a covenant with God. Much like us, they were not perfect, but they would reach a point of disobedience, and confess their sins, and received His blessings on them.
Israel had voluntarily accepted God’s covenant obligations. Accepting the covenant, Israel voluntarily accepted Yahweh’s rule, His lordship, His sovereignty. The covenant was not an agreement between equals; rather it was an inferior (Israel) accepting the terms of a superior (Yahweh). Thus Israel was a helpless people who had been delivered by an act of unmerited grace.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Precious Abba, much like the Israelites who had accepted Your covenant, though not truly understanding its meaning. Forgive us when we fall short of Your glory, for we strive daily to uphold our agreement to the covenant. Guide us back onto the path of righteous living, and remind us to always seek Your continued Presence in our daily lives and all this pray in Jesus’ precious name. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“Salvation is what we receive, not what we achieve.”
“David was conscience-stricken after he had counted the fighting men, and he said to the Lord, ‘I have sinned greatly in what I have done. Now, O Lord, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing.’” (2nd Samuel24:10)
Why was David so upset with himself? It’s simple, he had ordered a census of fighting men. He knew he had sought to determine his strength in fighting men, and not place his faith in God to deliver the Israelites. This was just not done and David realized it. Before David rose the next morning, His prophet, Gad had received from the Lord, that he had three options.
He could choose three years of famine, or three months of fleeing from his enemies while being pursued, or three days of plague. David chose three days of plague. Seventy thousand people died in the three day plague, to restore Israel before the Lord.
“For our offenses are many in your sight, and our sins testify against us. Our offenses are ever with us, and we acknowledge our iniquities: rebellion and treachery against the Lord, turning our backs on our God, fomenting oppression and revolt, uttering lies our hearts have conceived. So justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter. Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey. The Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice.” (Isaiah59:12–15)
The prophet led the people in confessing their sins. Confession involves admitting guilt, listing specific sins, acknowledging that sin is against God, and seeking forgiveness.
God responded to Israel’s confession with determination to act. The relationship with the Lord is a matter of human trust in God’s unfailing love. Guilt entrusted to God is dead, freeing the sinner to enjoy God’s love. To fail to confess sin is to be stubborn. Confession fills the heart with a new song.
Second Thought of the Day:
“Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord. Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven, and say: ‘We have sinned and rebelled and you have not forgiven.” (Lamentations3:40–42)
We have no recourse and should make no complaint when we receive just punishment for sins committed. Punishment should discipline us to return to God in repentance.
God’s purpose had been to bring Judah to repentance. Although the writer despaired, he knew that the Lord’s compassions were faithfully fresh every morning.