In my quiet time I am in the book of Judges. A line that you read again and again is this. “Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord….” It seems they just don’t get it. One minute they are on their faces begging God to have mercy on them, the next they have returned to their wicked ways. It seems they have a continuous cycle that can’t be broken. If your like me, as you read your thinking what is wrong with these people. They have seen God do great things and heard the stories of old and yet as soon as life is going good, they forsake God and go their own way.
Yet, as I pondered this I realized how much like them I am. Now, I may not bow down to other gods, I may not sin in such wicked ways, however, how easy it is to put God on a shelf when life is going good. Like the Israelites we are all given to sin. We are prone towards pride that says, “I can do it myself!” We try and try to go our own way and think we are doing pretty good until tragedy strikes or problems arise and then like the Israelites we beg God to intervene.
Another thing that is striking is that God who is rich in mercy knew they would sin, He allowed them to have their way, to endure the consequences and then when they cried out to Him, He forgave them. I am reminded of I John 1:9. The Bible says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” The book of Judges proves how true this is. Though they continually turned away, when they came before the Lord and repented, He always forgave.
Now truth be told, I don’t want to be anything like the Israelites, but I also know that my heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. I know that each day I’m going to fall down. Yet, how thankful I am that God is rich in mercy not only towards the Israelites but towards all of His children. How thankful I am that when I fail, He is faithful to forgive me and to cleanse me.
As I think upon Easter this week, I am reminded of the precious blood of Jesus. For without His blood there would be no forgiveness of sin. Without His blood we would be forever separated from the Father. Apart from the blood we would have no access to the Holy of Holies to present our prayers to God. For on that cross Jesus died for every sin I would commit, He has already paid the price, “It is finished!!” Therefore, now in my daily life each time I sin, I can confess it and know God forgives me. Why? Not because I did anything, but because Jesus has already paid it all!!
Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.