We want to fit in

Judges 2:12 “And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger.”

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Our cultural context can be very persuasive. We want to fit in with the world around us.

We would rather not be the weird family on the block serving the God the old folks used to serve. That would have have social consequences, leave our children open for ridicule at school, or even mean something negative for the family finances. Right?

Perhaps. But what if serving the God of our fathers is the right thing to do? What if He is the only God worthy of service? What if the old traditions and the old ways are best?

Israel lost perspective. They failed to believe God and failed to remember His mighty acts and abundant mercy.

Instead of reality, they chose fiction. They “fit in” by forsaking the God of their heritage. They became phony people serving phony gods.

We ought to let their folly and God’s anger teach us a lesson today.

Judges 2:12 “And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger.”

This is a good question

Judges 2:1-2 “And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you. And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this?”

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This is a good question.

God catalogs His faithfulness to Israel here. He has brought them out of captivity, installed them in the land of promise, and kept His word with miraculous precision.

His covenant with Israel is perfectly intact. He has not wavered. He has not failed.

A God who has been this merciful, this faithful, this reliable must certainly be trusted.

He offers one more assurance – I will never break my covenant – and provides instruction – don’t make a league with the people and throw down their altars.

Israel does not obey. They assimilate into the culture around them and worship the very gods they are told to destroy.

I am forced to wonder if we often assimilate, if we ever embrace the gods of our culture? If so, this question could be for us.

Judges 2:1-2 “And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you. And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this?”

The same glorious salvation

Acts 26:14-15 “And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.”

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There are few better tactics for Christian witness than giving our own, personal testimony.

We see Paul endeavor to do so on a number of occasions in this book.

Certainly he had a dramatic salvation experience. It was a great story to tell – perhaps much more exciting than our own account.

God does not give every man a glorious story, but He does give every man the same glorious salvation.

People want to know that Christ has transformed our life and changed our heart.

We know that in the end it is only the word of God, in the power of the Holy Spirit that will move a man to faith. Yet it is the testimony of God’s saints that often first reveals the efficacy of Bible truth.

Every man that believes is a new creature, whether born again in old age or young. This change is an affirmation of gospel truth and the story of it is a unique tool God gives, which can have amazing impact on the hearer.

Acts 26:14-15 “And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.”

Which they could not prove

Acts 25:7 “And when he was come, the Jews which came down from Jerusalem stood round about, and laid many and grievous complaints against Paul, which they could not prove.”

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We continue to see the persecution of Paul in this chapter. As with all organized oppression of Christianity, the evidence is falsified.

How can a power structure justly eliminate the good Christians brings to society?

Disciples of Christ, by their very nature, bring improvement to the cultures in which they minister. Therefore trial of the brethren must rely on lies, falsified evidence, and illegitimate witnesses.

Just as God takes action in perfect harmony with His character, performing His works in holiness, justice, love, and grace; the enemy operates in an equally authentic fashion.

He was a liar from the beginning, ever seeking to undermine the honest and righteous working of God.

Paul is enduring the false accusation that is typical of Satan. Those who live Godly in Christ will likely face such wicked treachery.

Acts 25:7 “And when he was come, the Jews which came down from Jerusalem stood round about, and laid many and grievous complaints against Paul, which they could not prove.”

What minor thing?

Acts 23:12-13 “And when it was day, certain of the Jews banded together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. And they were more than forty which had made this conspiracy.”

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Few things have sparked more violence throughout history than the preaching of God’s word.

We must understand that the enemy has worldly means alone to confront our Lord and His disciples. If men are obedient to Christ, his only recourse is to stop them.

There is no philosophy or logic that can compete with gospel truth. This is why servants of Satan turn to intimidation, imprisonment, and murder.

What they fail to understand is that God’s message cannot be stopped. They can kill Christians, burn Bibles, and destroy churches, but they can never prevent God’s will from being carried out in this world.

Certainly we do not wish for this kind of violent rage against believers, yet throughout the ages it has served to greatly strengthen righteous resolve and accelerate church growth.

Men of God during Paul’s time in history faced the threat of death and kept preaching. What minor thing stops us from preaching today?

Acts 23:12-13 “And when it was day, certain of the Jews banded together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. And they were more than forty which had made this conspiracy.”