This is the fourth post in a five part series. It is inspired by the Book of Judges and my studies of that book. Posts will appear here and on A Deeper Church.
Read the first post.
Read the second post.
Read the third post.
“But the Israelites said to the Lord, ‘We have sinned. Do with us whatever you think best, but please rescue us now.’”
Can you hear them, the cries of Israel, can you hear them?
Crying out in the clefts and caves of the mountains in which they have taken refuge from their oppressors.
Sobbing prayers of longing for the days their ancestors wandered in the desert, homeless, but with God.
Muttering words of the Lord’s slow anger and abounding love in hopes that He might show Himself to be those things as they find themselves enslaved in a land that was supposed to be theirs.
How long before these cries and prayers and muttered words passed through Hebrew lips did these same Hebrews realize their distance from the One who called them to be set apart?
Days? Weeks? Months? Years?
Were the compromises big from the beginning? Was their turning from Him one giant step at a time? Or did they start small?
Does it matter how big or small the compromises were?
Does it matter how far away from Him they turned?
Does it matter how big or small our compromises are?
Does it matter how far away from Him we turn?
To do anything but directly face God is to face something else entirely.
And the more we turn away, the longer it takes for us to realize we are no longer looking directly at Him.
A glimpse of Him in our periphery is not a life focused on the Lord.
And then suddenly, like Israel, we cry out. We realize He has passed outside of our field of vision. Unsure of which way to turn, for Him who is to guide us is no longer visible, and so we cry out.
We cry out in hopes that He will be faithful to answer even though we have been unfaithful in our turning away.
We cry out in hopes that we will be rescued, as Israel was, again from our sin, again from our turning, again from our idolatry.
We cry out.
Does it matter how big or small our steps away from God are?