Stalker / Thorn in My Side

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, April 9, 2016 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

Choices can have dramatic, unexpected consequences. 

I will never forget how the simple choice in my early 20s to go on a couple of dates with a co-worker led to a crazy, stalker-ish, month-of-hang-up-calls, hateful-glances-at-work, paranoid delusion of oddity. It was a very short story that had a profound impact on my personal ‘screening’ process for a ‘date.’ (It also made me aware of the serious nature of psychological issues.)

As I said, choices can have dramatic, unexpected consequences. But, unwise and rebellious choices can have DISASTROUS consequences. 

Mine was a simple ordinary relational choice, and the outcome was dreadful. What if I had been warned ahead of time? Would I have deserved the experience that I had, or maybe even worse? Read Judges 2:1-5. Notice what God is saying to Israel about their choice.

Last week I shared that Israel had decided to compromise. They did not drive out the people who were living in the land that God intended for Israel. They not only allowed the people to stay but eventually treated them the way Egypt had treated Israel - making agreements with them, allowing them to worship other gods, and then making them slaves. Now, in these verses, God is confronting Israel about the consequences for their choice. 

Their choice was unwise and rebellious. They didn’t listen to God’s instructions. In fact, they did the opposite of what He commanded. God explains to them that these people will become a “thorn in their side.” Israel’s choice to make agreements and have commitment with these people would make them partners with these people in ways that would distract and compete with their commitment to God. What initially seemed like a great opportunity had a very dark underbelly of divided attention, distraction, and corruption of faith. God tells Israel they are going to have to live with their consequence, and that they will be caught up with the worship of false gods. 

I cannot imagine looking into the eyes of God at this moment. It had to be like looking into the eyes of a spouse who is just being told about an affair. Anger, hurt, rage, pain, anguish all swirling in those eyes as the consequences take hold. This realization that the relationship will not ever be the same is a sickening and mournful reality; trust has been broken, and other lives are entangled in a mess that will take years to overcome. 

In Israel’s case, God says He is not going to overturn their choice. He is going to let them experience the consequences, even though it could pull them away from Him. And when the truth settles in, the community weeps deeply. Their weeping is so deep, they name the place where God speaks “Bochim,” which means “they wept.”

Have you made a choice that has left you with a consequence that has changed life forever? Do you think God loves you less if He doesn’t remove the consequence?

This year, we as a nation will make a choice for our president and leaders across the U.S. The consequences of those choices will be with us for a long time, and God may let us experience all of them. He will still love us. He may even love us enough to let us be broken by our choices, so we turn back to Him and let ourselves be restored by Him.

Whether it’s your personal choices or ours as a nation, what consequences are we experiencing, or going to experience as a result? How far will we go away from God and into brokenness, before we seek Him with our whole heart and life?

Each day, we choose who we serve, by how we choose. Who did you serve today? Who will you serve tomorrow?

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