WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday July 31, 2011
RETURN TO OBEDIENCE
(GOD forgives and delivers repentant sinners)
In the biblical Greek, the word used for “world” is “kosmos”. It is from that word that we derive our English word “cosmos”. In the spiritual sense, it is “That complex intertwining of sinful desires that shape our world of lost humanity”.
When we choose “the Christian Walk”, we automatically should become strangers to worldly behavior. We are then no longer permanent residents of this earth, but rather, we become citizens of Heaven, and therefore, the Laws of GOD should become paramount to us. It is not until a person falls in love with “goodness” that “wrong things” no longer fascinate, or have power over them. An experiential relationship with GOD is a Christian’s greatest asset. And so, the person that loses his or her heart to the things of this world becomes the person most vulnerable to satan.
The end of all things is near, for each of us, personally. For, that is the warning in the messages that the ancient prophets, and, New Testament writers and thinkers all leave us with. And those warnings remain as valid today as they ever were. The fact that, when we become Christians we cast everything over to GOD, does not give us a right to sit back and do nothing. We still must reflect GOD’s image to others through our behavior at all times. In other words, we are to teach the world to be GOD-like, through the way we behave, and not let the world influence us to return back to our former ways.
In Judges, chapter 10, after the deaths of Tola and Jair, who judged over Israel for a total of forty-five years (23 and 22 respectively), the Israelites once again did what was evil in the sight of the LORD by worshipping the gods of the nations who lived around them. Not only did they place the images of the Baals and the Ashtoreths at the top of their worship list, they also stopped worshipping their GOD, WHO is the Creator of Heaven and earth, completely.
As, the book of Judges records, the people of Israel struggled very badly at being faithful to GOD, and they failed over and over again, to extricate themselves from their desires to be like the people of the world around them. To this point, GOD had already given Israel victory over seven of the surrounding nations that had oppressed them, yet, they continued to seek after, and serve, the gods of some of those same nations.
Here in Judges, chapter 10, when the Israelites cry out to GOD for help, they exhibit a totally different attitude than on any of the other previous occasions in this book. This time, they seem to finally realize that the root cause of their problems is their own sin against the Almighty GOD, WHO had been their faithful SAVIOR over the years.
This time, they confess their sins to GOD, which is a mighty important first step if a sinner is truly interested in earnest repent, and really expects to gain the ear and mercy of GOD. In fact, here they are taking all the right steps, as they turn from their worship of the false gods around them, and re-establish their loyalty to the Only Wise GOD, the CREATOR and SAVIOR of all mankind.
Because GOD understands the nature of mankind, HE has always instructed us through HIS Word, to “remember” (i.e., “This do in remembrance of ME”). GOD knows how quickly the human mind forgets. HE knows how we become so pre-occupied with our own “worldly affairs”, that, eventually, we always fail to recall how HE has brought us through the self-imposed miseries and circumstances, that, we always find ourselves in, whenever we choose to go our own way.
Over time, Israel went from loathing their enemies to sleeping with their enemies. They lived comfortably among them, and ultimately, became just like them. They failed to fulfill their roles as GOD’s chosen people, and, as they lost sight of the LORD, and began to focus on the people and things of the world around them, they, inevitably, embraced their sinful ways, and in fact, made sin a habit.
“True repentance” is a thing of the heart, not just words, or even actions. The heart is where repent begins, and ends. It is having a compunction that motivates us to “change our minds” before we sin, not after. The fact that “we feel bad afterwards”, does not excuse the fact that “we did it anyway”. The truth is that, we didn’t change our mind, but rather, we chose to serve ourselves rather than GOD, by doing what we wanted, and ignoring what GOD wanted us to do.
Only when we make a conscience decision to love the LORD with all of our heart, soul, and mind, will we ever be able to fall in love with goodness, and cause even our sinful thoughts, to begin to break our hearts. Then, and only then, will be able we make a serious, earnest effort to “return to obedience to GOD”, and allow HIM, to take control of the throne of our lives.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
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