Lessons From Your GPS

“So it was, when the Angel of the Lord spoke these words to all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voices and wept.”

Judges 2:4

Life today is much like it was back in the days of the book of Judges in that everyone did what seems right to them. If your car is equipped with GPS you know what I mean. If you miss your predetermined mapped out destination the system automatically begins to search for an “alternate route” instead of the “best route”. And yet, if you have ever missed a turn when traveling because you didn’t follow the directions that were given you, you soon discover the best way to get on track is to just turn around and not look for another route. Unfortunately most of us hate to turn around when we get off track. We simply look for “alternate routes”.

One of the things I have appreciated in learning about the children of Israel is how they respond to the chastening of the Lord when the angel of the Lord (the Lord Jesus Himself) appeared to them and rebuked them for their failure to fulfill the vows. The bible tells us here the Lord came up from Gilgal (which means blessing) to where they were, Bochim (which means weeping).  The people respond the way anyone with a sensitive heart would upon being rebuked of the Lord for rebelling against His will for our lives. They listened intently to what the Lord spoke and His Word cut them to the heart, and then they lifted up their voices and wept.

Sin and disobedience should break our heart in the same way it does break the Lords. When you and I study the Word of God with an open heart and mind, tears should come to our eyes when we sin and are in disobedience to the Lord. When we realize that our sin, your sin and my sin is what cost Jesus His life on Calvary’s Cross, our hearts should ache if not break. Until we come to the place that we despise our sin the way that God does we will allow it to coexist in our lives like the children of Israel did in the book of Judges. Matthew Henry once said, “God has told us how deceitful and desperately wicked our hearts are, but we are not willing to believe it, until by making bold with temptation we find it true by sad experience.”  

D.L. Moody, the famous preacher in his own right said that the Christian has two natures that are like two dogs. We have an old nature and a new nature that must be fed to survive. The problem is, we only have enough food to feed one or the other. Our job as children of God is to starve our flesh to death and feed our souls and live. Unfortunately, the children of Israel failed to do just that and the cost of their sin far exceeded the temporal pleasure they might have enjoyed. If there is a truth to glean from Judges chapter 2 it’s this, “history not learned from tends to repeat itself.” Most commentators agree that a major theme in the book of Judges is apostasy. You might wonder, what exactly does apostasy mean? APOSTASY  (ah·pahs’tuh·sy) is the act of rebelling against, forsaking, abandoning, or falling away from what one has believed previously. The children of Israel have a history of falling away and repenting, walking with God, falling away, repenting, only to fall away again and again. Its as if they were constantly looking for alternate routes.

True repentance though leads to God’s forgiveness and just as pride leads to separation from Him as God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. 2 Corinthians 7:9-10 tells us, “Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.”

Know this, friend, if you are sorry when you sin, that’s a good thing! It’s when we don’t feel bad when we blow it that we have a problem. The children of Israel developed a pattern of living that we can observe and learn from here in the book of Judges. They developed a bad habit of Rebellion, Retribution (Retribution involves the act of paying someone back according to their behavior), Repentance, Rest, and then Repeating the cycle over and over.

We can break the cycles of sin and rebellion in our own lives by entrusting ourselves to God and following Him. Get in the Word and listen for His voice as you study the bible. It has been said that the Bible will keep you from sin and sin will keep you from the Bible. It’s true, friend, that’s why God gave us the Word, that’s why He gave us His Son, the living Word! God wants us to know Him, and to know His ways so that we can live in victory every day of our lives and not just when we get to heaven.

Remember, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…His Word is truth…if you know truth it will set you free! It was Jesus who said, “I Am the way, the truth and the life, and no man comes to the Father except by Me.” Follow Him, loved one, stay close to Jesus and you will never ever have to look for an alternate route again!

“Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”

John 8:36


Michael Osthimer





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