Choosing to Stand

In reading through the Old Testament, it struck me how inconsistent and fickle the people of Israel are. I think as a Christian today, there is the temptation to say, "Oh, I would never be like that." But in light of some recent things I have seen and heard of, I think that it is more of a possibility to be like that than I care to admit. Throughout the Old Testament, we see one generation wholly seeking after and walking with the Lord, then the next they totally abandon the Lord, then repeat. People who were solid with the Lord were making choices that did anything but glorify the Lord.

"And the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great work the Lord had done for Israel... And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or that work that He had done for Israel. And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals. And they abandoned the Lord..." (Judges 2:7, 10-12a)

As I read these verses, I wondered how only a generation after all these men who had seen the Lord work and move mightily had died, could the people not know the Lord and serve Baals. What happened? Well, here is my guess: the generation before, who saw the new generation raising up and sinning and serving the Baal's said nothing. They did not stand for righteousness.

As Christians, we not only have to know what we believe, we have to be constantly aware of our spiritual state. We need to know that we are not that different from the Israelites. We are just as susceptible to fall into sin and walk away from the Lord as they were. We are not better today than they were then. We are not better than the countless numbers of friends and family that we have now that are choosing darkness over light. We need to daily choose to set aside the things that easily ensnare (Hebrews 12:1) and renounce the things that are disgraceful (2 Corinthians 4:2), so that we could have a pure witness to those around us.  Yet, not only that, we are to stand for it. When we see our brothers and sisters walking in ways that could very easily lead them into sin we need to speak up.

On a personal note, I experienced this in a minimal way this week. I sinned. Not only that, I sinned willingly. I was not repentant, nor was I grieved that I had done something that separated me from my God. For the next few days, I read my Bible and I talked about the Lord; yet I found no joy in reading my Bible and I found myself annoyed easily. It wasn't until this morning that I realized, by the prodding of the Holy Spirit, that that sin was hindering me. Thankfully, the Lord is gracious and He convicts and corrects those He loves. But what if I had ignored the conviction of the Lord? What if I denied that small voice that I knew was speaking to me? It would have been easy to sin again, and again, and again. Then I would be just like the Israelites, who once knew the Lord yet caved in to sin and served Baals.

It is so easy to think that we are okay, just because we are Christians, but we are just as prone to sin as those who are not Christians. I feel like the Lord is warning me, and hopefully you, to gird ourselves with the armor of God and to be prepared and protected. These last days we will be tempted to give in to less than Biblical Christianity and to compromise on what sin is and isn't. Let us learn from those that have gone before us, let us stand and speak out, that hopefully, those coming behind us would be encouraged to do the same.

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