You have forsaken Me and
served other gods. Therefore I will deliver you no more. Go and cry out to the
gods which you have chosen; let them deliver you in your time of distress.
Imagine how it would feel to hear God say that. You have
acknowledged your sins and returned to your Rock for help—the One who
delivered you out of distress so many times before. But this time, He is not
welcoming you back with a full pardon. This time, He is not going to remove
your current suffering.
This is the situation that Israel faced after leaving God for
not just one idol, but at least seven (Judges 10:6)! Therefore, the way God
treated them was just and deserved. They were going to have to face the
consequences of the poor choices they had made.
So what was their response? They may have felt disappointed, but
they did not go back to their idols even when God did not grant them what they
asked for. No matter what God decided, it did not make their false gods any
more real or any more of a source of aid.
We too may be facing the consequences of our sins today. Whether
or not God decides to remove our current problem, we can only benefit from
forsaking the sins that have caused our suffering and separation from God. If
we have owned up to our sins before God and He still feels far away, do not
give up and walk away. This is our chance now to show God our sincerity by
taking the initiative to right our wrongs.
God may be waiting to see if we are focused on just having our
difficulties removed or if we truly want to change our lives going forward.
In this case, even though God refused to deliver them from their
enemies, the Israelites still put away their foreign gods and served Him. When
God saw their true repentance, "His soul could no longer endure the misery of
Israel" (Judges 10:16). Our God is easily touched and is merciful beyond what
we deserve. When we take steps to willingly submit to His righteous decision
and to do what is right in His eyes, He will be faithful in responding to us.
1. Do we give God conditions that He has to meet before we are
willing to change our lifestyle and forsake our sins?
2. When we become aware of a particular sin, do we remain in it or
do we make a determination to remove that sin no matter what it takes?