JUDGES 3:5-6: “The Israelis continued to live among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, taking their daughters as wives for themselves, giving their own daughters to their sons, and serving their gods.”
OBSERVATION: What is my relationship with the culture of this world? When I read the book of Judges, I find myself rising up in judgment against the Israelites. How could they so quickly turn from the Lord, who had so mightily delivered them from Egypt, and enabled them to inherit the Promised Land under the hand of Joshua? Yet, in the midst of my judgment, I sense a still small voice calling me to examine my own life. Am I acting just like the Israelites?
The Israelites did not immediately plunge into sin. Their departure from the Lord began with small steps of disobedience. One of the key instructions they had received was to not marry anyone from the surrounding nations, nor to give their daughters in marriage to the sons of these nations. In doing so, they not only disobeyed the Lord, but they began to learn their culture. In a very short time they began to serve their gods. I am sure that serving false gods was something they thought they would never do. Yet, they opened the door by embracing the culture of rebellious nations, and eventually they walked right through it.
I don’t believe any sincere Christian proclaims – “I am going to accept Jesus Christ, so that I can continue to enjoy my sin, but still have the assurance that I will go to heaven.” Yet, just like the Israelites, a Christian can become entangled in sin, and once again find themselves in bondage, even after they have been set free. Paul tells us in Romans,
- “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?” Romans 6:15-16 NKJV
If we serve sin, we will be a slave to sin, and sin will overcome us. If we serve God, and abide in His grace, we will grow in His righteousness. This is not speaking about how a person becomes a Christian. It is speaking about how we walk after we are Christians. We are saved by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ. Yet, we walk by grace, into the obedience that leads to righteousness, once we are saved!
- “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10 NKJV
So what does all this have to do with our opening question? What does this have to do with my relationship to the culture of this world? Everything! If I am embracing the culture and wisdom of this world, I will follow the path the Israelites took in the book of Judges. They were God’s chosen people, but they found themselves continually defeated, continually in bondage, and all because they embraced the culture of the nations that were still among them. They failed to defeat them, began to live among them, and soon learned to follow in their ways.
I think if we are really honest with ourselves, we all have made the same error to some degree or another. The call is not to begin to judge others and point out how much they have compromised in their walk of faith. The call is to humble myself before the Lord and ask Him to show me any areas in my life where I have compromised, where I have embraced the culture of this world, and where I have limited my strength in Christ, or become bound by former attitudes and sins. David cried out to the Lord,
- “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalms 139:23-24 NKJV
This is the prayer I am moved to pray this morning. Lord, search me, know me, show me, LEAD ME! Reveal any area where I have begun walking down the path of the wisdom of this world, and not according to Your Wisdom. Help me to quickly repent, and to return fully to You. Help me to see the blind spots in my life. Grant me the grace to continue in Your pathway of righteousness. Give me discernment and understanding as I read Your Word!
Give me Your Wisdom!
- “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” James 3:17-18 NKJV
In Jesus Name!