Saturday, November 7, 2009
...Once I dreamed there was a murderer living in our house. My house. And in typical dream fashion I was the only one aware of such a vital fact. We all went about our business every day, school, work, play, and the whole time this creepy serial killer was eating our food - sleeping in our beds. Scary? Yes, very scary. Wherever we went, the murderer went - and we accepted him as one of our own. That's the part I couldn't understand. Why were we letting this murderer come along with us to the park? Why did we crack jokes with him across the dining room table? Why was my dads arm slung around his shoulders in such a friendly way? But things got worse.
...Somehow, three quarters through this bizarre and disturbing dream, I found out that the murderer was secretly plotting to kill one of us - or maybe even all of us. Facts are always so distorted in the dream world.
...Then I woke up.
...So the question is, why am I telling you this strange dream I had - I mean, its not exactly the kind of thing one puts on ones blog just for fun. Even with Halloween just passed. Don't worry, there is a point!
...The next day I was feeling groggy from lack of sleep and more than a little unsettled. I hate bad dreams, they tend to color reality, which, for an already imaginative person, is a very serious thing. I stumbled through breakfast preparations and went to have my personal devotion time. I happened to be reading through Judges so I flipped open my bible to the appropriate place. It was Judges 2. Guess what? I had a real eye opener that morning, here's what the Lord showed me.
...Then the Angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said: “I led you up from Egypt and brought you to the land of which I swore to your fathers; and I said, ‘I will never break My covenant with you. And you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars.’ But you have not obeyed My voice. Why have you done this? Therefore I also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; but they shall be thorns in your side, and their gods shall be a snare to you.’” So it was, when the Angel of the LORD spoke these words to all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voices and wept. Then they called the name of that place Bochim; and they sacrificed there to the LORD. And when Joshua had dismissed the people, the children of Israel went each to his own inheritance to possess the land. Judges 2:1-6
...Wow. Lord, I thought, what are you trying to show me? This verse was really striking close to home. Are you saying that I have enshrined other gods in my heart?
...So I kept reading, eventually spilling over into the next chapter trying to comprehend the magnitude of these verses.
...Then the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel; and He said, “Because this nation has transgressed My covenant which I commanded their fathers, and has not heeded My voice, I also will no longer drive out before them any of the nations which Joshua left when he died, so that through them I may test Israel, whether they will keep the ways of the LORD, to walk in them as their fathers kept them, or not.” Therefore the LORD left those nations, without driving them out immediately; nor did He deliver them into the hand of Joshua. Judges 2:20-22
...Now these are the nations which the LORD left, that He might test Israel by them, that is, all who had not known any of the wars in Canaan (this was only so that the generations of the children of Israel might be taught to know war, at least those who had not formerly known it), namely, five lords of the Philistines...Judges 3:1-3
...We have murderers living in our midst. In the deceptive depths of our hearts we often let in false gods, idols, and raise altars without even being aware of the damage. Its like an incomplete conquest of the land. We have a covenant with God, a new and better covenant than Israel had, one established by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, but still, still, we betray that trust!
...Sin is in the world, it will thrive until the return of Christ. The wheat and the tares live side by side until judgment day when the tares will be plucked up and thrown into the fiery furnace. But we can't let this become an excuse for sluggish inaction against our own weaknesses.
...The murderers in our midst have names, they are called complacency, laziness, anger, deceit, unholy desire, fear, hopelessness, compromise, hate, jealousy, discontentment, the list goes on and on forever. When we let them live with us on a daily basis, when we form uneasy alliances with sin -and perhaps even get to know these murderers on a first name basis - they do what they do best. Stifle our prayers, strangle our relationship with God, shake up our faith, eat away at our precious time. Do not be deceived, the enemy is a prowling lion, he wants you dead. Spiritually. And that is what sin will do. The terrible thing is that we welcome sin, we are depraved easily swayed human beings - we fall into the trap of thinking everything will be fine. Just a little here, a little there, and suddenly we have whole tribes of sin taking a stand in the remoter corners of our ignored hearts.
...Think of temptation and sin as a test. This is what the Lord did with the Israelites, he left the nations as a test, and to teach them warfare. We can be strengthened when we resist sin - even to death. How much better to die a martyrs death than to be murdered by our own sin?