DEAL WITH SIN OR GOD WILL DEAL WITH YOU
What Happens when we repent?
Jerry A Collins
v Why is it important to repent of our sin?
v How does our sin affect God?
v When we repent what does God choose to do?
Fellowship with God is for those who want to live under His authority. God says we cannot live in the world and live like the world and live in fellowship with Him. One of the major problems we have as believers is getting the world out of our system. You would think that once being delivered from the world that being in Christ would be enough to prevent us from craving anything else the world has to offer. But such is not the case. Even after experiencing the ravages of life in the world, we bring with us into our faith, longings, still, for the ways of this world. You cannot live in Egypt and Canaan at the same time. One of the problems Israel had was getting Egypt out of her system. Being delivered from slavery in Egypt you would have thought it would have kept them from craving the fish, the leeks, the garlic, the onions, and melons in Egypt (Num 11:5). But such was not the case. In both groups (Israel and the Church) the remedy for worldly sinful choices is repentance. That is, the need to acknowledge our sin coupled with a willingness to change. We are going to learn how repenting is essential for anyone who seriously desires to pursue a walk with God.
Two more Judges vs 1-5: We learn that two more judges ruled the nation for 45 years. The first is Tola vs 1-2. It is not clear what he did but he did it for 23 yrs and then died. The second is Jair from Gilead on the eastern shore of the Jordan River. He seemed to be wealthy as indicated in vs 4. He died and was buried. We can draw some conclusions about these judges:
(1) Since they were called Judges we can assume they discerned and determined the judgment of God in some way.
(2) Since no enemy is specifically mentioned, they most likely kept Israel from rampant idolatry that would invoke the judgment of God.
(3) They served their generation and then died. They fulfilled their calling in life. Both of them probably solidified the nation recovering from the sad state of affairs under Abimelech’s judgeship in the nation. That’s legitimate work.
GOD WILL CHASTISE YOU FOR YOUR HABITUAL SIN 1-9
If you have got a problem with a sin in your life, then you also have a problem with God, and He with you.
1. Habitual sin becomes more difficult over time to remove 6. Here we have the habitual sin of Israel—idolatry. But notice how this sin has gained momentum and widened and deepened over time. (1) The gods of the Canaanites—Baals and Ashtoreths (Jud 2:13). (2) The gods of Aram—Hadad and Rimmon (2 Kgs 5:18. (3) The gods of Sidon—Asherah (1 Kgs 16:31-33; 18:19). (4) The gods of Moab—Chemosh (1 Kgsd 11:5). (5) The gods of Ammon—Milcom or Molech (1 Kgs 11:33). (6) The gods of Philstines—Dagon (Jud 16:23). The outcome is they forsake God and no longer serve Him.
2. God’s chastisement of our habitual sin may be severe 7-9. Notice the description of the outcome of God’s judgment—they were afflicted, and crushed, and greatly distressed. Sin is not to be accepted or excused or overlooked. The judgment came in the form of a pincer movement with the Philistines on the east and the Ammonites on the west. From either side, Israel was exposed to hassle, intrigue, surprises, and imminent death for 18 years. But this year they were especially crushed referring to the most recent year. Tribes on both sides of the Jordan River were exposed to the brutality of these enemies. Those in Gilead and those in the center of the territory of Judah, Benjamin and Ephraim vs 9, were equally vulnerable and threatened. Tribes within and without the allotted territory and those peripheral and in the interior had been attacked and suffered.
(1) God always take any sin seriously. The more seriously we view sin the more godly we are.
(2) Unconfessed sin accumulates, making it more difficult to get rid of or keep under control. The more experience with a sin, the more habitual that sin becomes, creating baggage in your life that makes sin more difficult to overcome.
(3) Sin that you fail to resist, God will confront in your life. No sin can ever be overlooked by a just God. God knows exactly the best method, timing, and circumstances to use as he disciplines us.
ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR SIN, TURN FROM IT & SERVE GOD 10-16
The remedy for our habitual sin is repentance but not just any repentance.
Israel Cried out before: During previous times of distress Israel cried out to the Lord for deliverance (3:9, 15; 4:3 etc.,.) but these were not evidence of repentance for her sin. God had even sent a prophet to them in 6:7-10, pointing out her need for repentance. But there is something different here. Twice they claimed We have sinned vs 10, 15.
(1) The first time they are agreeing with God that they have sinned and have forsaken God by serving the Baal’s vs 10. This is a good place to begin. So in the management of your sin you must have a fundamental agreement with God that:
1. You sinned against Him.
2. That your sin is assuming you know better than God what is in your own interests. The Baal’s only existed because they believed these gods would give them what they really wanted.
3. You must take personal responsibility for your sin. ‘We have sinned” and “we have forsaken”.
(2) God agrees with them vs 11-14 about their sinfulness. First, it makes no sense to serve gods that cannot deliver you and lead you into oppression while ignoring the God who does deliver you time and time again vs 11-12. God catalogues every one of these gods. It’s like God is saying, Don’t you get it? Second, since Israel has forsaken God for these other gods, He will forsake them vs 13-14. No more deliverance from me, God says. Instead, you go back to those gods and cry for help from them in your distress. They have your attention and affection. You have made your choice, now live with it. Why would Israel follow gods who have led them into oppression and obviously cannot deliver them from it? But why do we pursue materialism when there is no evidence it produces holiness, improves our character, or family relationships? Why do we use anger to control people or cheat our employer or lie and gossip about someone as a form of revenge or refuse to forgive a neighbor for a misunderstanding or a hundred other sinful strategies we hold onto as a way of managing our life situations? The answer is because we believe that we can serve our best interests this way. That is the real appeal of the gods of this world. They promise to deliver to us what we want now. We have the same problem Israel did. Their gods were adapted from the influences of the pagan cultures surrounding them. Our gods also come from the worldly influences surrounding us and our sin nature finds that appealing.
(3) So how will Israel respond? Okay, yea God, you do have a point there. No. They repent! This is something almost so unexpected that it demands a closer look. Repentance consists of three things:
1. An admission that I have sinned vs 15. Again this is fundamental for repentance. Today the Church wants to excuse sin. Notice with this confession they completely cast themselves upon the mercy of God. Notice, too, the transition from doing what I think is in my best interests to admitting that only God can serve my best interests—do to us whatever seems good to you. If only they had believed that in the first place!
2. Turning away from what I believe serves my best interests—that is, from my gods vs 16. The Israelites put their gods away. They stopped believing that these gods could give them what they wanted. Now they admitted that God could only do that.
3. They served God. They connected their faith with the Law of God—that is, the Word of God and obeyed God. They still cried out for deliverance vs 15, but now it was from a repentant heart! What can we learn about our God from this? God could bear the misery of Israel no longer. It was because God’s own soul grieved with Israel’s misery that He would save them this time. We have got to learn the character of God from the Word of God. Don’t smother God’s character with your ideas of who He is.
1. If you have a sin you cannot get rid of then you believe that that sin is serving your best interest and you are deceived.
2. Take a look at what that sin is producing and you will see that it only destroys.
3. Determine to turn from that sin. Quit saying it is okay and though you may have to repent again you have changed your course and now God can be merciful toward you.