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"Awful Pattern" 5/2/23

Dear Church,

After reading a few chapters of the book of Judges, you get the sense you're reading the same story again (with different actors). Again and again, the people of Israel rebel against God, experience the awful consequences of sin, cry out to God, and He in his compassion raises up yet another Judge to save them.

This downward spiral began within the FIRST GENERATION of those who entered the Promised Land. Judges chapter one recounts tribe after tribe that began to drive out their enemies, but did not finish the task God had called them to. So God judged Israel and declared (Judges 2:3) "Therefore I also said, 'I will not drive them out before you; but they shall become as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare to you.'"

I am reminded of Romans chapter one, where Paul describes God giving over the peoples of the earth to "impurity" (Romans 1:24), to "degrading passions," (1:26) and to "a depraved mind" (1:28).

This is the awful pattern and condition of humanity whenever God is taken out of the picture, wherever false gods are worshipped in place of the true and living God.

Left to ourselves, in one generation we would destroy ourselves. BUT, as bleak as the period of the Judges was in Israel's history, we must not forget the immeasurable grace of God. Again and again he saves. He is yet patient with the world, his kindness still leads people to repentance. And God still raises up people to speak the truth and lead many to stand against evil and overcome.

Brothers and sisters, we as Christians have the great privilege of serving this God who has broken us out of the death trap of sin so that we might become His slaves, a people who lead others to God. So, don't put your hope in this world, but don't give up on God either. He's not finished yet.

Serve Christ today, speak the truth, act in love, and watch what God can do.

Grace and Peace are yours in Jesus, Matt

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