Chase out all that ruins your walk with God
Another reflection from my friend Davy Blackburn. You can read more of his work here.
The Angel of the Lord at Bokim
2 The angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, “I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land I swore to give to your ancestors. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you, 2 and you shall not make a covenant with the people of this land, but you shall break down their altars.’ Yet you have disobeyed me. Why have you done this? 3 And I have also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; they will become traps for you, and their gods will become snares to you.’” 4 When the angel of the Lord had spoken these things to all the Israelites, the people wept aloud, 5 and they called that place Bokim. There they offered sacrifices to the Lord (Judges 2:1-5)
This message given to Hebrews long ago [in Old Testament Times] reflects that relationship which Christians today aspire to. God made a covenant with his people. He has renewed that covenant afresh by the blood of His son; our Lord Jesus. It is unthinkable that God would ever break his promises which were made for good, however it is not unthinkable that we may break our promises to Him.
For the Israelites, they made enemies within the lands they were to inhabit. The problem was that the people living in these lands worshipped idols and false gods. They had sexual relationships with Temple prostitutes and they were unwelcoming to newcomers. The Hebrews did not completely drive out the people who worshipped false gods and in fact many entered into relationships with these same people later. But the price for this was continual animosity, battles and in many cases separation from God. It is not easy to think God might initiate ethnic cleansing but we must not hide from the lesson this chapter teaches that it is man who denies God first.
We may not have sexual relationships with prostitutes or kill and steal, but we may put many possessions, people or pleasure before God. How much time might we spend studying about other things than God, or how much time do we devote to a hobby, or are we working all the hours of the day to grow someone else’s business and spend little or no time in prayer?
Some of these things in themselves are not wrong, but putting God on the shelf until a more convenient time or keeping him out of the areas of our life we prefer to keep private can be just as harmful to our walk as living to appease people who reject God. We might hide the things we do not like others to see, such as our anger, our jealousy, our feelings of inadequacy. Or we may spend too much time trying to influence others and show how we are “not really different”.
Would it not be more useful to our walk with God to invite Him into the areas of our life we struggle most with? To ask Him to show us what are the things He really finds important for us to be doing? We like to associate most with people we respect and love. Getting to know Jesus and His Father builds a respect where we become proud to be called children of the living God and our desire to be like Him and not the sum part of our own human desires.
The church today seems at times to be more concerned with “fitting in” with the world and its ideology than promoting the truth of the Gospel which is that we are all in need of a saviour, but it is not a saviour borne of our own ideas, but a saviour sent to save us from our sins if only we would confess them and accept we need the blood of Jesus to wash over us. The bible speaks of no other way of salvation.