Mar 28, 2013

Israel Did Evil in the Eyes of the Lord

This is the second post in a five part series. It is inspired by the Book of Judges and my studies of that book. Posts will appear here and on A Deeper Church. You can read the first post here.

“The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord; they forgot the Lord their God and served the Baals and the Asheras.”

The Book of Judges reads like a downward spiral, with each revolution marked by some variation of the phrase, “again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord.”

Each time it gets worse.

Each time the person leading the people of Israel gets worse.

Each time it is worse because they have turned more fully away from the Lord.

What was their evil?

It was a violation of covenant. A violation of an agreement with the Most Holy God. The One who brought them out of Egypt, out of slavery. The One who removed them from under the hand of their oppressors. The One who drove out those who would oppress Israel so that they might receive the land of their inheritance.

It was a violation to love the Lord their God and serve Him only. It was bowing down to other gods, to idols made, sometimes from their own hands, instead of the One True God.

It was prostitution of self for the purpose of self-indulgence at the cost of true identity, at the cost of the relationship that mattered most.

I do not have idols of metal, wood, or stone.

But that does not mean I do not have idols.

I do not prostitute myself to Baal.

But that does not mean I do not attempt to sell myself off to the lowest bidder, to the cheapest thrill or hope of love, forsaking the greatest love readily available and freely given in the hope of something that feels a little easier.

Our idols are not the idols of Israel during the time of the Judges. But that does not mean we do not serve idols of our own making, idols of this time, today.

The evil we do in the eyes of the Lord may look different on the surface than the evil of Israel, but the cost is the same. Each choice we make to choose ourselves over Him is a step away from Him and toward the worship of self; the worship of what each one of us sees fit to do.

What calls you from your worship of the Lord?

What tries to promise an easier love than the love available to you in Christ?

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