The ancient Israelites had a pattern known as the Ancient Israel Sin Cycle. Simply put, we see many times in the Old Testament that Israel would fall into SIN > They fell into OPPRESSION from that sin > Eventually they would REPENT > God would DELIVER them. So, SIN > OPPRESSION > REPENTANCE > DELIVERANCE. Deliverance in a good way, not the freaky banjo 1972 way.
I’ve preached on this many times so I won’t dwell on it. Obviously we do the EXACT same thing. We have sin wrecking our lives, we have a tough situation, whatever the case may be for that particular moment in time…we cry out to God, we up our prayer life, we take our spirituality up a notch to help….God is faithful and there for us….Good times come about again and we go right back to where we were before this whole mess started. It’s not just Israel, it’s us as humans and God can smell it a mile away.
It happens to the best of us but that’s not what I want to focus on. It’s not IF it’s WHEN for us. It’s not IF Israel was going to return to their sinful ways….it was HOW LONG until they fell apart again. What’s disturbing is that it didn’t usually take long. I think the same for us, although we fool ourselves into thinking we’re doing better with God than we actually are.
In Judges 8:32 Gideon brought peace to the nation for 40 years. God used him as He did other judges to help deliver Israel in that sin cycle. All was good. All was “Godly”. Here’s the problem: scripture says AS SOON as Gideon died the people of Israel whored after their idols and false gods and returned to sin in verse 33. Really? Just ONE verse later the Bible is saying literally THE SECOND Gideon died, false gods were raised up and worshiped. What does that tell you? It tells me they all had that false idol worship desire blazing in their hearts even while Gideon was alive. The desire was locked and loaded.
That’s what you and I need to focus on. He’ll always be there. He won’t abandon you. You abandon HIM. I do it too. Way more than I want to admit. We not only abandon Him but we have something to REPLACE Him locked and loaded. Usually in the good times of our lives, when all is going well and according to OUR plans, not God’s necessarily. Identify what it is in you. Do it before OPPRESSION is inevitable. Sin will make sure oppression happens every time. So what is it for you? That thing that is always locked and loaded? That sin pattern you have always dealt with? It’s different for everyone. You know what it is. You’ve been dealing with it for as long as you can remember, like your personal thorn in your foot that no one else knows about. If it gets bad enough…it starts wrecking your life all over again.
For some it’s pornography or lustful desires and actions. For others it’s greed and the pursuit of money and power apart from God. For others it’s pride and a desire to go after your own goals, plans and way of life apart from God’s plan for you. It’s always different for everyone but it’s the SAME FOR GOD. It’s nothing new to Him, you’re fooling everyone. You’re not fooling Him. Eventually it will catch up to you, you can count on that.
We are human. We are sinful. We can’t get around that. God understands, He forgives, He’s patient.
Identify your sin cycle. It’s unique to you. Only you know what that is. Ask God to start chipping away at that desire, that pattern BEFORE it gets to the OPPRESSION phase. Maybe you’re in that time of life that all is really good for you, spiritually. Enjoy it, be thankful for it but remember WHO provides it. Remember how quickly you can fall into a sin pattern. YOUR sin cycle. The Israelites FELL IMMEDIATELY. Check your heart even in the good times. You won’t be sorry.
After all, all that is good in your life comes from God. ALL of it. If you forget that you’ll never truly succeed.