Stopping Sin in Its Tracks

“The angel of the LORD went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, ‘I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land I swore to give to your ancestors. I said, 'I will never break my covenant with you.'” Judges 2:1 (NIV)

Sin. We all struggle with it. We don’t like to acknowledge it. We’d rather hide it. But eventually we must confront it, lest we become consumed by it. I pray today is that day we’re finally ready to courageously say, “Enough is enough. I want God’s best more than I want the temporary pleasures outside His will.”

Sin feeds a dangerous cycle of misplaced desire, defiance, disobedience and destruction in our lives. We desire something that goes against God’s instruction. We become defiant in our hearts against God’s best. In disobedience, we sin. And then we usher in the destruction that always accompanies sin. It’s what the enemy had in mind all along — to steal, kill and destroy. (John 10:10)

When we give in to sin, we sign up for eventual suffering. Sin may seem appealing and alluring, but make no mistake — it will eventually end in weeping.

That’s where we find the Israelites in today’s key verse, which at first appears to be full of promise. But in the context with surrounding verses, we find this passage is about the consequences of sin:

“The angel of the LORD went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, ‘I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land that I swore to give to your forefathers. I said, “I will never break my covenant with you, and you shall not make a covenant with the people of this land, but you shall break down their altars.” Yet you have disobeyed me. Why have you done this? And I have also said, “I will not drive them out before you; they will become traps for you, and their gods will become snares to you”’” (Judges 2:1-3).

Let’s consider what’s taken place in the Israelites’ lives. God has delivered them from captivity, guided them through the wilderness and led them into the land promised to their forefathers. God has remained faithful to His people. But His people have not remained faithful to Him.

In Judges 2:1, we find the angel of the Lord going from Gilgal to Bokim. Gilgal is a memorable place for both Joshua and the Israelites. This was where Joshua placed 12 stones to commemorate their safe passage across the Jordan. (Joshua 4:19-24)

But we find the angel of the Lord leaving Gilgal, a place associated with blessing, and going to Bokim, which means weeping. In the midst of the Israelites’ disobedience, they face the consequences: God’s presence and protection would depart from them, and they would find themselves ensnared by the very idols they thought would bring them satisfaction. The response of the people is despair and weeping.

It’s within this context we need to reread Judges 2:1. In the midst of disobedience, God declares His established covenant would never be broken. Are there consequences for sin? Yes, but God remains faithful to His covenant promises and gives His people hope.

We must hold on to this hope whenever we read through the Old Testament. Otherwise, we’ll continually get frustrated by the actions of God’s people generation after generation. Remember, sin is a cycle. And unless we completely turn away from misplaced desires, defiance and disobedience, destruction continues.

The Israelites experienced this destruction. Sadly, they do not show true repentance that is marked by both a change in actions and, even more importantly, a change of heart.

Remember the cycle of sin starts with misplaced desires. This is where things from today’s Scriptures get really personal for me. I have a choice to make today: Am I entertaining any misplaced desires? Or am I carefully placing my desires into God’s hands and asking for my heart to be aligned with His?

This is where sin is stopped dead in its tracks. When we humbly bow our heads, surrender our hearts before God and say, “I only want what You want. I dedicate my desires to You, Lord. And I ask that You eradicate any desire in me that could lead to defiance, disobedience and destruction.”

Lord, let it be so for me today.

Father God, I don’t want to keep falling into the same old patterns of sin again and again. Open my eyes to see any areas of disobedience in my life. Show me where my choices are leading toward destruction. And help me turn away from any and every misplaced desire. I long for a heart that’s fully aligned with Yours. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Satan loves to use our disappointments to convince us to step outside of the will of God. But you can learn how to avoid the snares of the enemy by recognizing the six main areas where Satan wants to gain a foothold in your life. 

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  October 2019  
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