“Why did God allow polygamy in the Old Testament?” I’ve heard that question many times. The truth is, it has always been sin, but at that time it was an acceptable sin by most people’s standards. What sin have you allowed to become acceptable?
Judges 9 & 10
In Judges 8.30-31 Gideon had fallen into the sin of polygamy. Though it was tolerated in that society, it was never God’s intent. It always led to trouble and often outright evil as it did here in chapter 9.
We are introduced to Abimelech his son by another relationship (Gideon didn’t even marry this woman). Sin always spirals downward unless repented of and forsaken. Abimelech, not only conspired to become king of Shechem, but set out to kill all of his brothers—70 of them. He succeeded in killing all but one who hid from him.
What is God saying to us through this story? What principles can we learn? Possibly about the dangers of compromise?
If we trace this story back to 8.27, we see Gideon went from his great victory to making an ephod and setting it up in his hometown. An ephod generally referred to a sacred garment worn by a priest.
Matthew Henry says this may have included some kind of oracle to divine God’s will. The end of verse 27 says, “But soon all the Israelites prostituted themselves by worshiping it, and it became a trap for Gideon and his family.”
Our acceptable sins
Is there an area of your life, where you have allowed compromise to seep in? Is there some “ephod” you have created to remind yourself of a past victory? Is there something that seems like “a little sin” that you are allowing to remain in your heart or life? Maybe it’s unforgiveness, envy, jealousy, covetousness, worry, gossip?
In reality, there are no “little sins”—just those at the top of that downward spiral of sin and are perhaps more acceptable. Worry isn’t even considered a sin by many, just as polygamy wasn’t by many in Gideon’s time.
And gossip … doesn’t everyone do it?
About that flirtation … “Hey, I know he’s married, but we’re just friends. I’m not going to do anything!” What if it were your husband or mine and one of his female co-workers? Would it seem as harmless?
Nothing much has changed since the garden. God had given Adam and Eve a clear command, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen. 2.16-17).
One chapter later the serpent hisses, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Gen. 3:4-5)
In other words, you can decide for yourself what’s right and what’s wrong.
“It won’t hurt anything! It’s just a little harmless fun. In fact, believing it’s wrong is keeping you from something good!”
“I know some people think it’s wrong to live together, but if I don’t, I’ll be alone. God understands. He doesn’t want me to be unhappy.”
“I know God hates divorce, but I just don’t love him any more. I can’t help it. God will forgive me.”
“I know he’s an unbeliever, but it’s only lunch.”
“Gimme a break! I’m a man. There’s no harm in looking! My wife is just jealous!”
“Everyone does it. It’s no big deal.”
Are you deciding for yourself what is right and wrong?
What sins have we allowed to become acceptable?
FROM TODAY’S OTHER READINGS:
The Judge of heaven and earth
Verse 1, “The Mighty One, God the LORD …” El, Elohim, Jehovah will one day come, not as the Savior, but as the Judge of heaven and earth (vv. 4, 6). When He does, He will gather His saints (v. 5), but it will be a day of judgment and wrath for those who do not belong to Him.
Until then He is drawing people to Himself and He has called us to be part of that process:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28.19-20).
He doesn’t desire that anyone would be condemned. In fact, He “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2.4). So let’s be about our Father’s business by faithfully sharing the Gospel with others. We can’t save anyone, but we can sow the seed, water what has been planted, and disciple those who have come to saving faith.
True witnesses needed
Verse 25, “A true witness delivers souls ….” Are you being a true witness for the Lord? Each of us is called to deliver souls from that Day of Judgment.
The power of God for salvation
Luke 16.31 should be a great encouragement to us in our witnessing. When the rich man implored Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his brothers, Abraham said:
“If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.”
Witnessing isn’t about us. We don’t have to have some great testimony or some great preaching ability. It’s about the all-sufficient Word of God. It’s the power of God for salvation.
Paul said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Rom. 1.16).
What about you?
What keeps you from sharing your faith? Fear? Intimidation? Concern that someone won’t like you any more (fear of man)? Is it not having the right answers? What is hindering you from being that faithful witness?
If it’s lack of knowing how, there are many simple ways to do it. Learn one. Remember, it’s the Word of God, the Gospel, that is the power of God for salvation.
What sin have you allowed to become acceptable? Could you be sitting at the top of that downward spiral of sin? If you think you have it “under control,” you might be in more danger than you think (1 Cor. 10.12). Let’s pray for God’s help to be like the Apostle Paul who said:
“Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him” (2 Cor. 5.9).
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