Ye have not obeyed my voice

Judges 2:1-3 It is amazing how quick man is to disobey God after tasting a bit of victory. God had taken Israel across the Jordan River, delivered Jericho and Ai into their hands, and driven out those inhabiting the immediate area. Under God’s leadership Joshua divided the land by lot and instructed the tribes to go occupy the land by driving out the remaining inhabitants, but they did not. Chapter one of Judges chronicles their disobedience. There may be many reasons for Israel’s disobedience: perhaps they were tired of war and it’s desolation; perhaps the idea of fighting as lone tribes birthed fear; perhaps they decided negotiating leagues was easier than wielding swords; perhaps the prospects of gathering taxes from tributaries overcame their senses. Whatever the reason, it was unjustified rebellion against God’s clear command. In response to their disobedience God sent His angel with a four part message.
   I. They were reminded of what God done for them.
   A. God had delivered them from Egypt, a place of slavery, abuse, and hard toil. “I made you to go up out of Egypt” God said. This reminds us of how God has delivered us from our slavery to sin, self and Satan. Our days in the flesh were miserable, wretched days. We did not necessarily realize how miserable and wretched we were because everyone else was just like us. Nonetheless, our days without Christ were miserable days with no help from God.
   B. God had brought them into Canaan, a land of peace, prosperity, and rest. “and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers;”. God had been gracious and kind to them.
Certainly, in some way, this provides a picture of our wonderful position of being accepted with God in The Beloved – Jesus. Ours is a position of tremendous favor, splendor and spoiling!
In Christ we are made heirs of God; we have received all spiritual blessing; we have exceeding great and precious promises that enable us to be partakers of God’s own divine nature! What a life is ours in Christ!
   II. They were reminded of the faithfulness of God. Truly God is a faithful God. Deuteronomy 7:9 “Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments” including those of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Though we are unfaithful, God cannot be, for to be unfaithful would be to deny Himself. He said to Israel “I said, I will never break my covenant with you.” May we be reminded that God has promised that none who come to Jesus will ever be cast out! Let us consider how that God said “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
   III. They were reminded of God’s expectations of them.
   A. They were to make no leagues with the inhabitants of the land.
Those who were then living in the land of promise were the enemies of God, and therefore the enemies of God’s people. They were not to make any treaties with God’s enemies. Having been translated from the kingdom of darkness and translated into the kingdom of God’s Dear Son, the world is now our enemy and we are hated by it. We are told to walk as children of light and to have no fellowship with the works of darkness. We are told that the friendship of the world is enmity against God. We are told to not love the world, neither the things that are in the world. Let us make no league with this world, but rather make it the object of our evangelistic endeavors.
   B. They were to tear down the altars that were built there. They had set up God’s altar and there was no room in the land for another; they were to throw down every altar the former inhabitants had erected so as to avoid the temptation of having other gods. Jesus is our only legitimate altar: Hebrews 13:9-15 “Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein. We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle. For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the
camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” Our allegiance is to be sworn and given to Christ alone!
   IV. The results of their disobedience were revealed.
We should be reminded that all disobedience has a just recompense of reward. God deals with us as children, and disobedient children receive correction.
   A. They sacrificed their victory.
God said “I will not drive them out from before you;” Since Israel chose to make leagues with them instead of driving them out in God’s power, God would now not drive them out. Their sin, it might be said, would be their chastisement. We are told to mortify our members with the lusts thereof. If we refuse, why should we expect God to grant us victory? If we choose to fail of God’s grace, we fail. If we refuse to resist the devil what right do we have to expect God to bruise him under our feet? If we refuse to bring the tithe into the storehouse we have no reason to expect God to rebuke the devourer. If we are cozy with the world, why should we expect our faith to overcome it?
   B. They would be continually troubled.
God further said to Israel “but they shall be as thorns in your sides,” The world, the flesh, and the devil are the Christian’s primary source of trouble; how much more so when we refuse to “throw them down”! What insanity to expect blessings and good-will from one’s enemies.
   C. They would be continually tempted.
God also told them that “their gods shall be a snare unto you.” Since the altars were not thrown down, they were tempted to turn to alternative gods, and frequently did. There is only room for one God in any land. They would find themselves frequently in the noose of false gods.
Proverbs 22:5 “Thorns and snares are in the way of the froward: he that doth keep his soul shall be far from them.” God is good all the time! May we allow His love to constrain us at all times to walk in humble subjection and obedience to Him. Might we learn from the example of Israel that the proverb “the way of transgressors is hard” is indeed true. Might we, for God’s glory and our good, walk worthy of our vocation, our calling, in Christ!

One Response to “Ye have not obeyed my voice”

  1. google says:

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    Reading this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept talking about this.
    I will forward this post to him. Fairly certain he will have a good
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