Bible Readings for July 27th

Judges 10 | Acts 14 | Jeremiah 23 | Mark 9

After the leadership of two more judges, Tola and Jair, Israel descends deeper into their rebellion and idolatry, forsaking Yahweh once again. So Yahweh again hands his people over to their enemies to oppress them because of their idolatries (Judg. 10:7–9). And—exactly according to the pattern—Israel cries out for Yahweh to save them from their enemies, confessing that they had sinned.

But this time, as if recognizing that Israel had begun to treat his grace cheaply, Yahweh refuses Israel’s request. In Judges 10:11–14, Yahweh recounts that he had saved Israel from the Egyptians, the Amorites, the Ammonites, the Philistines, the Sidonians, the Amalekites, and the Maonites through their history but that his intervention to save them has never made a difference in their hearts. Yahweh states here that he will no longer rescue his people: “Yet you have forsaken me and served other gods; therefore I will save you no more. Go and cry out to the gods whom you have chosen; let them save you in the time of your distress” (Judg. 10:13–14). If these other gods are worthy of your worship, Yahweh reasons, then let them save you.

Yahweh makes two things clear in this passage. First, he insists that he is able to save Israel—and more than that, that he has saved Israel, again and again. But second, Yahweh explains that there comes a point in the process of apostasy where Yahweh must allow us to go our own way to experience the full consequences of our sin without his help.

In this way, Yahweh is testing Israel. Will they genuinely repent, or not? Often, the only way that Yahweh can get our attention is by giving us exactly what we want, by handing us over to our sin. For the same reason, Paul instructs the church at Corinth to deliver an unrepentant sinner “to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord” (1 Cor. 5:5). Notice that last phrase: the goal of excommunication is “that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord,” which is accomplished by confronting him with the terror of being cut off from God.

There is no sinner who has gone too far to receive Christ’s mercy. There are, however, sinners who have gone so far so that they do not want Christ’s mercy any longer. When sinners are handed over to Satan, it is because their hearts have been hardened to the degree that they no longer desire forgiveness.

Today, pay careful attention to the words of the prophet Isaiah: “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near” (Isa. 55:6). Are you permitting sin and idolatry to remain in your life? Cut it off before you cut yourself off from the mercy of the Lord.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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