Battling Defeat, Exile, And Judgment

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Battling Defeat, Exile, And Judgment

Jeremiah 2:13 NKJV

“For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.”

The people of Israel and Judah had abandoned God by their unfaithfulness. They were dishonest and disloyal to God, they had not kept their promises to God and they had neglected their duties to Him. To top it off, they withdrew their fellowship with God.

Jeremiah 2:4-8 NKJV

“Hear the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob and all the families of the house of Israel. Thus says the Lord: “What injustice have your fathers found in Me, That they have gone far from Me, Have followed idols, And have become idolaters? Neither did they say, ‘Where is the Lord, Who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, Who led us through the wilderness, Through a land of deserts and pits, Through a land of drought and the shadow of death, Through a land that no one crossed And where no one dwelt?’ I brought you into a bountiful country, To eat its fruit and its goodness. But when you entered, you defiled My land And made My heritage an abomination. The priests did not say, ‘Where is the Lord?’ And those who handle the law did not know Me; The rulers also transgressed against Me; The prophets prophesied by Baal, And walked after things that do not profit.”

 

Jeremiah 2:19 NKJV

“Your own wickedness will correct you, And your backslidings will rebuke you. Know therefore and see that it is an evil and bitter thing That you have forsaken the Lord your God, And the fear of Me is not in you,” Says the Lord GOD of hosts.”

Israel and Judah’s unfaithfulness caused God to withdraw His protection and support from them. The result was defeat, exile, and judgment. Despite Jeremiah’s pleading and all of the warnings the people would not turn back to God.

Jeremiah 3:6-10 NKJV

“The Lord said also to me in the days of Josiah the king: “Have you seen what backsliding Israel has done? She has gone up on every high mountain and under every green tree, and there played the harlot. And I said, after she had done all these things, ‘Return to Me.’ But she did not return. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it. Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also. So it came to pass, through her casual harlotry, that she defiled the land and committed adultery with stones and trees. And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah has not turned to Me with her whole heart, but in pretense,” says the Lord.”

Jeremiah 5:22-25 NKJV

“Do you not fear Me?’ says the Lord. ‘Will you not tremble at My presence, Who have placed the sand as the bound of the sea, By a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass beyond it? And though its waves toss to and fro, Yet they cannot prevail; Though they roar, yet they cannot pass over it. But this people has a defiant and rebellious heart; They have revolted and departed. They do not say in their heart, “Let us now fear the Lord our God, Who gives rain, both the former and the latter, in its season. He reserves for us the appointed weeks of the harvest.” Your iniquities have turned these things away, And your sins have withheld good from you.”

Defeat, Exile, and Judgment

Defeat takes on many different faces and has many different facets in your life. In First Samuel chanter four, we are shown one example of how abandoning God will lead to your defeat.

1 Samuel 4:1-11 NKJV

“..Now Israel went out to battle against the Philistines, and encamped beside Ebenezer; and the Philistines encamped in Aphek. Then the Philistines put themselves in battle array against Israel. And when they joined battle, Israel was defeated by the Philistines, who killed about four thousand men of the army in the field. And when the people had come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord from Shiloh to us, that when it comes among us it may save us from the hand of our enemies.” So the people sent to Shiloh, that they might bring from there the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts, who dwells between the cherubim. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God. And when the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel shouted so loudly that the earth shook. Now when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, “What does the sound of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews mean?” Then they understood that the ark of the Lord had come into the camp. So the Philistines were afraid, for they said, “God has come into the camp!” And they said, “Woe to us! For such a thing has never happened before. Woe to us! Who will deliver us from the hand of these mighty gods? These are the gods who struck the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness. Be strong and conduct yourselves like men, you Philistines, that you do not become servants of the Hebrews, as they have been to you. Conduct yourselves like men, and fight!” So the Philistines fought, and Israel was defeated, and every man fled to his tent. There was a very great slaughter, and there fell of Israel thirty thousand foot soldiers. Also the ark of God was captured; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, died.”

Eli was unfaithful to God by neglecting his duty as a father and as the high priest. He knew that his sons were evil and vile, however he did nothing to correct them. He allowed his sons to continue in their sin, even while performing their duties as priest.

Defeat can be failure to realize a goal that God has for you or it can be your enemy gaining a victory over you.

1 Samuel 4:3 NKJV

“And when the people had come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord from Shiloh to us, that when it comes among us it may save us from the hand of our enemies.”

Israel began to be like all the heathen people around them. Their plan was to take the ark of the covenant into battle with them. They had began to view the ark of the covenant superstitiously – they began to worship the object rather than the One that the object represented, God Himself. The presence of the ark gave the people a false sense of security.

1 Samuel 4:5 NKJV

“And when the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel shouted so loudly that the earth shook.”

The Philistines defeated Israel in the battle, despite the ark of the covenant being with them. Many men died in the battle and those left alive fled the battle.

1 Samuel 4:10 NKJV

“So the Philistines fought, and Israel was defeated, and every man fled to his tent. There was a very great slaughter, and there fell of Israel thirty thousand foot soldiers.”

The defeat was so great that the ark of the covenant was captured by the Philistines.

1 Samuel 4:17 NKJV

“So the messenger answered and said, “Israel has fled before the Philistines, and there has been a great slaughter among the people. Also your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead; and the ark of God has been captured.”

Abandoning God will lead to a separation from His presence.

Romans 3:23 NKJV

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

When we are separated (exiled) from God’s presence we cannot experience His many blessings for us. God does not leave us – by our sin we voluntary leave His presence. God did not turn His back on Israel, they turned their backs on Him. Abandoning God will ultimately lead to your judgment. Instead of God’s protection and blessings you will receive His punishment.

Overcoming Defeat, Exile, And Judgment

It is God’s desire to do good for His people and to shower them with blessings, however your sins will cause good to be withheld from you. It will also lead to the enemy gaining the upper hand in your life. We must not abandon or forsake God. And we must not replace Him with other things or people.

Jeremiah 2:13 NKJV

“For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.”

The Bible gives us clear instructions for overcoming defeat from the enemy, exile and judgment. In Second Chronicles chapter seven God tells us that when He has withheld blessing and protection from us, because of our unfaithfulness and sin, we should do the following four things: humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from wicked ways.

2 Chronicles 7:13-14 NKJV

“When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Humble

2 Chronicles 7:13-14 NKJV

“When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

The first thing that we are to do is to humble ourselves. When we are truly humble we will see ourselves as God sees us. That includes seeing our sin for what it is. You can never be forgiven of something that you don’t believe is a sin.

A person that knowingly walks in sin could be considered a person that thinks they are better than God. Instead of being a humble person they become proud.

Proverbs 6:16-19 NKJV

“These six things the Lord hates,

Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:

A proud look,

A lying tongue,

Hands that shed innocent blood,

A heart that devises wicked plans,

Feet that are swift in running to evil,

A false witness who speaks lies,

And one who sows discord among brethren.”

Pride is an abomination (something that causes disgust or hatred ) to God. He will rebuke or resist the proud, but He will give grace to the humble.

Psalm 119:21

“You rebuke the proud—the cursed,

Who stray from Your commandments.”

James 4:6 NKJV

“…God resists the proud,

But gives grace to the humble”

 

Pray

2 Chronicles 7:13-14 NKJV

“When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

The second thing that we are instructed to do is to pray. Prayer is simply talking or communicating with God. We are to go to God and express to Him that we are sorry for what we have done (or not done) and that we want to do what is right in His sight. This is referred to as repenting.

Psalm 32:1-5 NKJV

“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,

Whose sin is covered.

Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity,

And in whose spirit there is no deceit.

When I kept silent, my bones grew old

Through my groaning all the day long.

For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;

My vitality was turned into the drought of summer.

Selah

I acknowledged my sin to You,

And my iniquity I have not hidden.

I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”

And You forgave the iniquity of my sin.

Selah”

God already knows our sin, but we must confess, or admit, it to Him. He knows that sin will lead to eternal death and destruction – that is why He desires for you to see your sin for what it is and to confess it to Him.

1 John 1:9 NKJV

“ If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”

Repenting has two parts: feeling remorse that you have sinned against a holy God and turning away from the sin. Repenting is not feeling sorry that your were caught in a sin. Many times a person might be sorry that their sins found them out, but not be sorry that they have sinned against God.

Seek God’s Face

2 Chronicles 7:13-14 NKJV

“When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

The third thing that we are to do is to seek God’s face. There is a big difference between seeking God’s face (His presence) and seeking His hand (blessings). We should seek God for who He is, not what we can get out of Him. He is our loving Father, the very creator of the universe, not a magic genie at our beck and call. God loves us and He delights in giving us things, but that should not be our reason for seeking Him. More than anything He wants an intimate relationship with you.

Exodus 33:17-23 NKJV

:So the Lord said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.”

And he said, “Please, show me Your glory.”

Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” And the Lord said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”

Moses had seen God’s hand at work in their lives and he had experienced some wonderful times in God’s presence, but he desired an even greater intimacy with Him. Moses sought God, not what God could do for him. If we will seek God with all our heart and soul we will find Him. He will reveal Himself to us in ways that words cannot adequately describe.

Matthew 7:7-11 NKJV

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”

Deuteronomy 4:29 NKJV

“But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

God tells us that if we seek Him with all our heart and soul that we will find Him. One definition of seek is to search. Seeking God is an active endeavor, not passive.

Luke 15:8-10 NKJV

Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’ Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

In the parable of the lost coin, a woman has ten coins and she looses one in the house. She lights a lamp and begins to search for the coin. She was very diligent in her search. She swept the entire house in her efforts to find the coin. She was very careful to look underneath things and in the dark corners. The woman valued the coin and she was willing to search until she found it. The same could be said for our search for God’s face. We must open the light of God’s Word and begin our search. We must be diligent in our search. Our effort must be steady and earnest. If we value God’s presence we will not be passive – we will be willing to search with all our heart and with all our soul until He is found.

Turn From Wicked Ways

The fourth thing that we must do is to turn from our wicked ways.

2 Chronicles 7:13-14 NKJV

“When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Wicked ways can be described as morally bad actions, directions, or manner. Morals are generally based on what a person or group of people think is right, good or acceptable. And that is where the problem comes in. When the law of God is forsaken and replaced by personal option everything is acceptable.

Proverbs 21:2 NKJV

“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, But the Lord weighs the hearts.”

One thing that has helped in the moral decline of man is the renaming of sin. Instead of calling something a sin, it is now called choice, an alternate lifestyle, or a disorder. We must turn from what man thinks is acceptable and align our beliefs up with God’s Word. We must conform to God’s standards. Lawlessness will prevail when everyone does what is right in their own sight.

 

Dear Father,

Thank-you for Your love and mercy and for the covenant that we have with You. When blessings and protection have been withheld from us because of our unfaithfulness and sin we have the promise that if we humble ourselves, pray, seek Your face, and turn from our wicked ways that You will hear us. You will forgive our sin and You will heal our land.

May we truly humble ourselves and see ourselves as You see us. Remove all pride from us and may we walk humbly before You. Thank-you for the grace that humility brings.

Fill us with a desire for a more vibrant prayer life. Convict us of sin and bad habits in our lives and may we be quick to repent. Thank-you for the eternal life that forgiveness through Jesus Christ brings.

May each of us have an overwhelming desire for more of You and Your presence. Cause us to seek Your face and not only Your hand. Like Moses we have seen Your hand at work in our lives and we had experienced some wonderful times in Your presence, but that is not enough – we long for a more intimate relationship with You. Cause us to seek You, not what You can do for us. Thank-you for the promise that if we will seek You with all our heart and soul we will find You. Reveal Yourself to us in ways that words cannot adequately describe.

May we align our beliefs up with Your Word and may we conform to Your standards. By the power of the Holy Spirit, may we do what is right in Your sight not ours.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

 

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