Brief Notes

You Cannot
Go to Shiloh
(1)

9 March 2024

When the Children of Israel
ceased to act in the energy of faith,
their victories ceased as well

At the beginning of the book of Judges we see the victory of Judah and Simeon in driving out the inhabitants of the land (Judges 1:1-7), and the blessing of the “springs of water” that came with such victory (vv. 11-15). Darby comments on this chapter, in his Synopsis,

The power and the presence of God did not forsake Israel at the time of Joshua’s departure. It was always to be found wherever there was faith to make use of it. This is the first truth which this book presents….

Not long after, however, the Children of Israel began to turn away from the Lord, and the victories ceased (vv. 1:27-35). Darby goes on:

The faith of Judah and Simeon, of Ephraim and Manasseh, and of all the tribes failed; and consequently their energy, and their sense of the value of God’s presence, and of their own consecration to Him, failed also, together with their perception of the evil existing among their adversaries-a perception which would have rendered their presence in the midst of them insupportable.
  
What dishonour to God, what sin, to spare, to tolerate, such people! What unfaithfulness towards God was this indifference; and what an infallible source of evil and corruption in Israel! But they were insensible to all this. They were wanting in spiritual discernment as well as in faith; and the sources of evil and misery dwelt beside the people, even in the land, the land of God and of Israel.

Personally, as I was reading these comments today, I felt they so much match the situation among God’s children in our time. So many believers participate in church fellowship that is so worldly, and sometimes even directly promoting corrupt and evil and sinful things, and yet, they have almost no feeling about it; much less do they seem to value what they have lost in terms of their fellowship with the Lord. Surely, as Darby comments above, the toleration of such a situation is “an infallible source of evil and corruption” among God’s people today, just as it was then.

And of course, in America today as a whole, the darkness and corruption being promoted are almost overwhelming, and yet we believers seem to have very little ability to affect it as “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” (Matt. 5:13-14).

How we need to turn back to the Lord and to His word as the antidote for such a situation! For “faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17). The Lord Himself said,

They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
— John 17:16

And then, as He goes on in His prayer, He shows us how this can become practical to us:

Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.
— John 17:17

(For comments on these verses, see the recent Note, “Of the World, or of the Word?)

But, if we desire to know just why Israel became so degraded in the first place, we will discover it was the very same factor that has caused the degradation of the church today.

We will consider that in the next Note in this series.

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— 9 March 2024 —