Confession: I oftentimes roll my eyes when I hear people from previous generations go on and on and on about “the good ol’ days.” I just read Judges chapter 19. This grotesque series of events involving a Levite and his concubine have me convinced the “good ol’ days” must have started after 1000 BC, when these passages were recorded, and ended in 1981, the year I was born.
For “in those days Israel had no king; [and much like today] everyone did as they saw fit” (Judges 21:25).
Talk about moral depravity at its finest!
Perhaps I roll my eyes because I feel defenseless. When I consider the degree of immorality illustrated in this text and how much it parallels to what takes place today, I ache. If I’m not intentional, I can wallow in thoughts of “why did God allow this stuff to happen?” and “oh my, this stuff still happens!” followed by, “what ever shall I do…?”
For memories of the “good ol’ days” to be the only sense of solace is rather shallow for me; one, because, evidently, I missed those days and two, they are usually spoken of as an element of the past that will never return.
I feign for hope.
As a mother of two young children, I oftentimes yearn for some good news. I want someone to tell me that times are getting better. I want to wake up and see that people are growing closer to God. I want to read articles about people falling in love with Jesus and His Word. The idea of that not happening “again” anytime soon can make me feel concerned.
What do we do with these concerns? What do we do when we hear people giving these annoying, yet true and accurate assessments of just how much our society has traveled away from God? Where is the hope?
First, we keep reading. Don’t stop at Judges chapter 19! Just as we should not let one chapter in the course of our personal lives or in the history this world define the rest of our time here on Earth, we should not let one chapter in the entire Bible define all of what God desires to communicate to us through His Word. We must keep this record of moral decay in its proper context, lest we miss its applicable point!
God wants us to be just as moved by His blessings and promises as we are by His displeasure and discipline. He is a righteous judge and a gracious God. We sin. He forgives. We reject Him. He offers His Son. We change. He remains the same. The world is crazy. He is still on the throne.
Records of and personal hands-on experience with moral decay can be disheartening.
What do we do about it?
We continue to trust in God. We continue to believe that “greater is He who is in [us] than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). We continue to believe that the same power that raised Christ from the dead is still at work in each of his children (Romans 8:11). We remind ourselves that these may be hard times, but God is not up in Heaven pulling His hair out in a panic state, for the fact still remains: “. . . at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, . . . and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord . . .” (Philippians 2:10-11).
Where is the hope, you ask? The hope is in the fact that we embraced the God-breathed truths of Judges chapter 19, kept reading, made it to Colossians 2:15, and were reminded that we won at Calvary as Christ made a public spectacle of this enemy who wants us to believe otherwise. Yes, we have lots of work to do to win more souls to Christ!!! BUT as we do this work, do it with a victory in mind!
That right there, my sister, is hope at its finest!
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