May 5, 2022
Sometimes the most intricate and powerful machinery can become totally inoperative because of a missing or broken part or a faulty connection. Although its potential remains tremendous, the broken machinery is good for nothing. Think of what has happened in the last two years because of a small microchip that American automakers could not acquire from China! A door swings upon relatively small and insignificant hinges. The doors proper operation is vitally dependent upon those hinges. In the spiritual realm, there is also something that, when absent, shuts down the gracious operation of the Holy Spirit and wastes the great potential of both the individual believer and local congregations.
The Israelites were mightily delivered from the bondage of slavery in Egypt. God raised up Joshua. God’s promise to Abraham hundreds of years earlier was being fulfilled. Why, just before Joshua’s death does it say, “He sold them into the hands of the Philistines and the Ammonites, who that year shattered and crushed them. For eighteen years they oppressed all the Israelites on the east side of the Jordan in Gilead…Israel was in great distress.” (Judges 10:7-9) God himself was behind the entire matter.
As soon as the Israelites honestly confessed their sins and repented, God went from selling them into the hands of their enemies to quickly raising up a warrior leader, Jephthah, who subsequently reversed the direction of God’s people. Judges 11:29, 32 says, “Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah. He crossed Gilead and Manasseh, passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from there he advanced against the Ammonites. Then Jephthah went over to fight the Ammonites, and the LORD gave them into his hands.”
Israel didn’t add more soldiers or more sophisticated weapons to its inventory. The Israelites simply confessed their sin, and God moved over to their side. Now I know that dealing with sin isn’t a politically correct concept to examine in these shallow, user-friendly days. But let’s do it anyway. God hates sin. In the end God will annihilate all sin. It is obvious, then, that our first order of business as Christians every day is to deal with sin. Confession of sin is the most important key to being a people and church that lives continually under the blessing of heaven. Our need to confess sin exposes the whole fallacy of “positive confession” (A teaching that you can have from God whatever you say) or the recitation of certain prayers as if they are a magic mantra for success.
Persistent, unconfessed sin was the reason behind Israel’s stinging defeats at the hands of the Philistines and the Ammonites. Judges 10:10 says, “Then the Israelites cried out to the LORD, “We have sinned against you, forsaking our God and serving the Baals.” The church must acknowledge that power will not be ours without a cleansed and forgiven body. The body of Christ must not allow sin to occupy our hearts. If we are to be the Church that God blesses, we must readily, and daily, confess and forsake all sin. God bless you all!
In Jesus’ love,
Dr. Jerry Light