Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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March 14 – Do Not Forsake The LORD

“And the people of Israel cried out to the LORD, saying, ‘We have sinned against You, because we have forsaken our God and have served the Baals.” And the LORD said to the people of Israel, “Did I not save you from the Egyptians and from the Amorites, from the Ammonites and from the Philistines? The Sidonians also, and the Amalekites and the Maonites oppressed you, and you cried out to Me, and I saved you out of their hand. Yet you have forsaken Me and served other gods; therefore I will save you no more. Go and cry out to the gods whom you have chosen; let them save you in the time of your distress.’ And the people of Israel said to the LORD, ‘We have sinned; do to us whatever seems good to You. Only please deliver us this day.’ So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the LORD, and He became impatient over the misery of Israel.” Judges 10:10-16

Devotional Thought For The Day

When things were going well for Israel the people would often slip into arrogance – thinking it safe for them to adopt the idolatrous ways of the people around them. This demonstrated a tremendous shallowness of faith. How could they think that God didn’t see this, that He wasn’t repulsed by this, and that He would not keep His Word of judgment upon them?  It also demonstrated a grotesque lack of judgment and common sense – their opinion that idolatry was essentially harmless and neutral, nothing to be concerned about. Worst of all, it demonstrated virtually a complete lack of love for God.  How could they have forgotten all that He had done for them in bringing them out of Egypt, and bringing them through victory after victory to establish them in the Promised Land, and then blessing them with peace and prosperity?  To offer praise and service to the “baals” was rank ingratitude toward the LORD, the only True and Living God – a pathetic betrayal of God and rebellion against Him.

Often we like to think of America as a “Christian” nation. Yet, if Jesus Christ is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” the only way by which we may come to the Father [Jn. 14:6], and if God’s Word, Holy Scripture, is “truth” [Jn. 17:17], and if only those “continuing in” Christ’s Word are truly disciples [John 8:31], then there have been very few times in American history that we truly have been a genuinely “Christian” nation. The truth is that just as the children of Israel often forsook the LORD and “served other gods,” so also people living in America have done the same – whether gods of money, power, luxury, and decadent immorality, or gods of the false religions. We tolerate the murder of unborn children, sacrificed on the altar of sexual freedom and promiscuity. We tolerate people living together without marriage. We tolerate homosexuality. We tolerate theological error and immorality within the church, and we “accept” the “piety” of people who tout false gods, which they promote by using God’s Name [Lord, have mercy, when Your judgment falls!]. Though all of this is rejecting God’s gracious mercy and salvation in Christ Jesus, and is gross ingratitude and presumptuous, arrogant rebellion against God, people are convinced that they are “safe” in doing this, that God is either unaware or unconcerned with their wickedness.

We do much the same in our own personal lives – with the “little” sins we commit and the ongoing rebellion we have against God and His Word. We consider our “indiscretions” to be mild and harmless, of little or no concern to God – even though all sin is damnable and spiritually dangerous, in that it is rebellion against and rejection of His Word. This is especially true of anything that obscures or misrepresents God – for this is precisely the kind of idolatry by which Israel fomented the wrath and ire of God. All of this is “in Your face” toward God, arrogant, wicked, blasphemous rebellion against Him. When we are committed to continuing in this rebellion, refusing to repent and amend our ways, insisting that we will not “put away” these false gods, well, God simply leaves us on our own. In the troubles and fiery trials that come to all the impenitent and wicked, He simply directs us back to the gods of our own invention, what we have trusted in when rejecting His Word – and such myths and fairy tales will do nothing to deliver and preserve us.

That this is NOT what God wants for us is clear – He becomes “impatient over the misery” of His dear people. In repenting, the children of Israel had it half right – they committed themselves back into God’s hands, acknowledging that He had power to do what He wished.  This is at least some faith in God, and giving Him some honor. But it is still ignorance of God’s love, and His good and gracious will for His people, and lack of trust in His commitment to our deliverance and salvation. Had they truly “known” God, they would have understood that their rebellion caused greater misery to God than His judgment caused them. Such is His jealous love for His dear children.

God does not change, and He remains the same toward each of us – in misery over our sin, our rebellion, and especially our rejections of His Word. Those who have committed themselves to full-blown idolatry, rejecting what God has revealed of His nature and loving heart, are called to complete repentance, to “put away” such false gods, their “baals.”  And it is our constant calling, even as we live in the gracious mercy and forgiveness of God, to put away all sin, and the idolatrous and blasphemous thoughts that go hand in hand with any commitment to remain in sin. Let us remember that God not only has power to do as He wishes, complete power over the entire cosmos, but also that His will and plans for us are gracious and merciful, that He is impatient over our “misery” as well. If we remember, then we will not forsake Him!

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus, how dark and problematic is our sin, that we seem always moved away from faith in You, and toward commitment to our sin, toward rebellion against Your Word of Truth, toward idolatries of various kinds. Forgive us, and lead us to greater knowledge of Your love, that we may grow in love and faithfulness to You. Amen.