The Israelites and Us: Sin


Without the account of the Israelites we would not have learned about sin and its damaging effects. What it can do if left unchecked. We wouldn’t have learned about man’s weakness and sin and temptation or how to trust God to overcome. We wouldn’t have understood truly why we all need a savior. 

We are all sinful from birth. Sin is dangerous and if left unchecked it can cause great damage to ourselves and others. It is selfish and clouds our judgment making us do irrational things, things we regret. The devil loves to lie to us, telling us sin isn’t as bad as it sounds. That it doesn’t matter if we do this or that, who will know? It won’t hurt anything, others have or are doing it, nothing happened to them. But they are all lies. All sin has consequences to us and others no matter how small it is. It is not something we should take lightly.

We all need to realize the seriousness of our sin – all sin is the same – rebellion against God our creator. It is a serious offense but does that mean He doesn’t love us and won’t forgive us? When we mess up – All of the times we mess up? NO! His love endures – He is always calling out to us in love with his arms open wide. Through His mercy we can overcome! Through Christ alone and His grace and power by the Holy Spirit we are able to overthrow sin. Not in our own strength but His. (Colossians 1:13-14, Romans 8:12-14, 1 Corinthians 10:13)

Through their sin we see the effects of it. We see the consequences and that it all is evil and selfish and has repercussions. We see how sin effects not just us but everyone around us and how it can even affect generations to come. The Old Testament shows examples of how one persons sin affected the rest of the family and generations down the line.  

God knows the effect of sin and in His love He warns us. God say’s parents should not be punished for their children’s sin and that children should not be punished for their parents sins. God is fair in dealing with sin. He also says the sins of parents will be on the children up to 4 generations of those who reject Him. But those who accept him He will bless 1,000 generations. So God in His mercy will bless those who follow Him and the generations after will benefit. But those who refuse to follow Him will affect the generations after with their choices. (Deuteronomy 24:16,  Exodus 20:5-11, Luke 1:50)

Eli the priest did not correct or punish his sons for the wickedness they did. They as priests themselves treated God’s sacrifices and duties with contempt. Eli warned them but did nothing more to stop them. As a result Eli’s family line of priests was cut off. (1 Samuel 2:12-17, 1 Samuel 2:22, 1 Samuel 2:24, 1 Samuel 2:30-31, 1 Samuel 3:13)

David’s family was affected by his sin of adultery and then murder of the woman’s husband. David was Israel’s king and it was the time of year when kings go to war, but David chose to stay home leading to his sin. After committing adultery and then discovering she was pregnant, he tried different schemes to fix his situation. First he called the husband back from war and tried to get him to go home to be with his wife, even getting him drunk to convince him, but he would not leave his post. So David send him back to the war and sent orders to put him in the most dangerous spot on the front lines so he would be killed.  (2 Samuel 11:1-5, 2 Samuel 11:8-11, 2 Samuel 11:14-17, 2 Samuel 11:26-27, 2 Samuel 12:9-12)

People around us are watching and observing our lives, our actions and words. Especially those close to us, our friends, family and colleagues. Even future generations will look back at our lives. We are constantly a witness for Christ. Our choices, our decisions affect us and those around us. David did not do his part as leader of a nation when fighting their enemies, and Eli did not do his part as spiritual leader in guiding and teaching his family, household and the next generation. Our sins affect how others perceive the Christian faith, God and His Word. We either draw them closer to God or push them away from God by our words and actions.  (Ephesians 5:1-2, Ephesians 5:15, 3 John 1:11)

Sin damages our relationship with God. It keeps us from His blessings and keeps Him from helping us fully. Sin pulls us away from God. The Israelites were commanded to not intermarry with the foreign nations that occupied the land and were told to destroy them because of their sin. They did not obey and because of it the leaders and the people were led away from God, eventually leading to exile of the Israelites. It brought on many problems. (1 Kings 11:1-3, Exodus 34:15)

In the same way we are to not mingle with the world. We are to be in the world but not of it. We should not reflect the world and its patterns, thoughts and ways. We should reflect Jesus and His ways and thoughts by letting His Holy Spirit work in us to renew our minds. Let Him renew our thoughts and ways to His. Any other way and we will be drawn away from Him. We will slowly grow apart from God and compromise His commands and ourselves. We should ask God to renew us and help us each day to stay close to Him. (Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:22-24, Philippians 4:8)

Neither should we partner with evil. Good and evil can’t exist together without trouble. Just like the Israelites were to destroy the nations in the land God gave them so they would not be drawn into sin and wickedness, if we partner with unbelievers in their sin we are opening the door for sin to creep in and destroy. If we accept or go along with society and secular culture norms we are helping the devil. Over time we  become desensitized to sin and the Holy Spirit within us. God warned the Israelites and He warns us too.  (2 Chronicles 20:35-37, James 4:4-8)

Unconfessed sin affects every aspect of our lives. When the Israelites first entered the promised land and defeated Jericho, a family sinned and it affected the outcome of the next place they attacked. The were soundly defeated because of their sin. One family brought condemnation on all of Israel and God did not go with them into the next battle. Until they dealt with the sin they would not be right with the Lord. Once they realized and dealt with it, then they were made right with the Lord and therefore they defeated the king and people of Ai. Sin can even affect our prayers. if we have unconfessed sin our prayers are not effective. We should ask God to reveal to us unconfessed or hidden sin and confess it to Him. He will show us and be merciful and gracious and forgive us if we repent. (Joshua 7:10-11, Isaiah 57:15, James 5:16)

We see that if we give into temptation it causes us to do things we regret. We see how if it’s left unchecked it Will leave things in ruins. When Israel turned away from God things went downhill fast and they were eventually exiled and taken captive because of their sin. 

God, by His own nature, cannot tolerate sin. He’s perfect and holy and cannot look at sin. He hates sin, but He loves us, His creation. That is why He sent His son to die for our sin on the cross. He took our punishment on Himself. Think of what He went through on the cross, all the pain and suffering. It was for us. It was what we deserve for our rebellion against Him. He took our place. 

Therefore we must deal with sin quickly and not tolerate it. If we let it go in our lives it only grows. If we let sin linger it only ruins more. It leads to more sin. The longer we go to confessing it to the Lord we create a greater fracture in our relationship with him. It interferes and disrupts our joy and peace and communion with the Lord. (Galatians 6:8)

Just like God set strict laws for sinning and God commanded the Israelites to rid the land of the nation’s occupying the Promise land because they were full of sin and wickedness. That is how we should deal with sin in our lives. It shows how swiftly and completely we should deal with it. But through the power of the Holy Spirit not on our own. If we don’t it will only hold us back from God and pull us away from Him. (Deuteronomy 7:1-6, Leviticus 20:22-26) 

We learn that our sin will find us out. God instructed the Israelites to be careful to obey and follow Him and not to break the covenant He made with them or disaster would come. Sin always leads to disaster whether it is immediate or in the future the consequences will come. God does not want that for us, that is one reason He gave us His Word and His Holy Spirit to warn us and He promised to help us overcome temptation. We can’t overcome it in our own strength, we need His help through His Spirit. Ask and God will help you. (Joshua 23:6-8, Joshua 23:12-16, 2 Thessalonians 3:3)

Because they did not fully obey they became entangled in the same sin and wickedness of the nations they were to eradicate. (Verses: Numbers 33:55, Joshua 13:13, Joshua 15:63, Joshua 16:10, Joshua 17:12-13, Judges 1:19, 21, 27-35)

Then God spoke to the Israelites and asked them why they disobeyed and because of it God would no longer help them conquer the land. The people wept after that, but they didn’t change. They were not convicted in their hearts to change their ways. They still turned and joined in worship of idols and the practices and customs of the other nations. They did not change and recommit themselves to the Lord. They followed God only to a certain point and failed to trust Him fully. Then the next generation grew up and did not acknowledge God and all He had done for them. This was the beginning of their downfall. We can be the same. Trust God only so far and not fully obeying what we know He has told us. This only leads to halfhearted following of God and keeps the door ajar for sin. Which then makes it much easier to fall away from God and lets sin grow in us. Halfheartedness creates a gap to let a little sin in and then the gap grows to more sin and compromises and pulls us farther from God. That only leads to disaster as it did for the Israelites. (Judges 1:6-10, Judges 2:17-19, Luke 11:28)

Why did God ask them to deal so harshly with the people of the land and why were the laws strict? God knew the path it would lead them down and how easily sin makes us fall. He is only looking out for our best interest just like a parent, just like a Good Father. Sin ultimately hurts us and because God cares He doesn’t want that for us.  A single trace of sin opens the door to much bigger problems, but through Christ we have the power to overcome sin and temptation. When we listen to God’s spirit showing us the truth and convicting us within and seek His help we can find the way out of temptation He provides. We must pray and ask God‘s help in removing the sin. He will never let us be tempted beyond what we can handle. He is compassionate and understanding. (Hebrews 4:15-16, Hebrews 12:5-6)


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