Day 5: Which Life Will You Choose?

"Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, so the LORD delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years."

Judges 13:1, NIV 


It is hard for us to conceive sometimes just how serious God is about sin. Over and over in the book of Judges we read that the people sinned so God punished them. Then God would wait until the people had enough of their punishment and repented from that sin and turned back to Him. It was only then that He would raise up a champion to deliver them from the oppression of the wicked men that He gave them over to.


While that may seem harsh to some, it is the only thing that makes sense when you really think about it. When you prefer sin over God, God will let you sin. And a life of sin involves being with people who are sinners. In the case above, those sinners were the Philistines. In other words, since the people did not want to be righteous and remain with the LORD, He allowed them to sin and be with sinners.


They chose their own punishment!


We read of a similar situation in Jesus' parable of the prodigal son. The son wanted to sin, so he had to leave home to do so. As is often the case, the prodigal son wanted someone else to fund his lifestyle of sin, so he asked his father for his share of the estate before he left home. Then, as is also often the case, the prodigal son squandered all of his blessings and ended up in the pigpen.


Now at this point, many "tender-hearted" people might think that the father should have gone and rescued the son from the pigpen. But the only thing that would have done would have been to let the son track the stuff from the pigpen into the father's house. Why do I say that? It's because unrepented sin always slops over onto everyone the sinner is around. The good news for the prodigal son was that as soon as he repented and started back to his father, the father rushed to help him come home. It was the same way in Judges with the Israelites: When they repented, God rose up a champion to deliver them from the sinful men who were oppressing them.


There are lessons in these two events for those who care to learn them: First, the choice of a sinful life always involves leaving God. Second, the choice of a sinful life always involves a punishment - usually consisting of being oppressed by the very sinful men that we have chosen to be with. Third, and most important, when we decide to repent and come back to our Father, our Father is watching so that He can rush to help us come out of our sin.


It all goes back to this freedom of choice that people seem to love so. We are indeed free to choose - in fact, God requires it. If we choose Him, there is peace and safety and reward. But if we should be so bold as to choose sin, there are unavoidable consequences for that sin.


The good news is that God has already raised up a Champion to deliver us from our sin. Now, the only question is... will you choose to live for that Champion, or will you choose to continue in your sin? The choice is yours!


"But the Israelites said to the LORD, 'We have sinned. Do with us whatever you think best, but please rescue us now.' Then they got rid of the foreign gods among them and served the LORD. And He could bear Israel's misery no longer."

Judges 10:15-16, NIV 


Today is day 5 of the 30 Day Challenge to read the books of the Champions and the Kings. Today's reading is Judges 8-14. May God richly bless your efforts as you choose to seek and follow His way!