Throughout the Bible we learn of judgment from God, on His people and non-believers alike. Judgment is a form of God’s grace. It gives us the opportunity to turn to Him in repentance before the final wrath of His punishment comes upon the unbelieving world.
Today I read from the book of Hosea about a judgment made on the leaders of Israel that we would be wise to heed.
“Hear this, O priests!
Take heed, O house of Israel!
Give ear, O house of the king!
For yours is the judgment,
Because you have been a snare to Mizpah
And a net spread on Tabor.”
The leadership of Israel is being called on the carpet. They are responsible for the nation’s turning from the Lord. “A snare to Mizpah.” Mizpah was where Samuel set up the Eben-ezer (“hitherto hath the Lord helped us”) memorial stone after a great time of repentance, renewal and revival. The nation realized their sins and that they had forsaken the God of their fathers. They renewed their vows and entered back into covenant with God. The Philistines attacked, were defeated and bewildered. This spirit of repentance and acknowledgement of their need for the Lord was now being discouraged by the leadership of Israel through their actions and directives. In Deuteronomy 33:18-19, Moses gives a blessing to Issachar and Zabulun (two of the tribes of Israel) before he dies.
“And of Zebulun he said: ‘Rejoice, Zebulun, in your going out,
And Issachar in your tents! They shall call the peoples to the mountain; there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness; for they shall partake of the abundance of the seas And of treasures hidden in the sand.’”
The mountain Moses spoke of was Tabor. Yet Tabor became a place of idol worship. And for those going south to worship in Jerusalem, many were intercepted and murdered. In other words, they were kept or distracted from worshipping God freely and in “Spirit and Truth.” Jesus shares this theme with the woman at the well…
“The woman said to Him, ‘Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.’
Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.’
The woman said to Him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming’ (who is called Christ). ‘When He comes, He will tell us all things.’
Jesus said to her, ‘I who speak to you am He.’” — John 4:19-26
Words for us to heed today: do not turn people from turning to the Lord and do not keep them from worshipping in Spirit and Truth.