Jump Start # 2752
Hosea 10:9 “Since the days of Gibeah, you have sinned, O Israel, and there you have remained. Did not war overtake the evildoers in Gibeah?”
The prophet Hosea reveals a very sad picture of Israel. Israel had not only sinned, but they remained there. They didn’t leave sin. They didn’t repent. They fell down and never got back up. They remained down. Sin conquered them. Sin was the victor. It’s hard to understand why Israel remained in sin. It’s hard to understand why people do that today.
Let’s be honest about sin:
First, sin has an attraction to it. That’s why it begins with the concept of temptation. If there was no tempting or appealing aspect to sin, then we’d not have a problem with it. If sin was like getting a tooth pulled or seeing a snake in your yard, we’d avoid it and never be bothered by it. But sin isn’t like a snake in the grass. It sparkles before our eyes. It dances in our minds. It creates a thirst for it. So, why do people remain in sin, it’s fun for them. Satan has blinded their eyes to the consequences. They see only the here and now. What is before their eyes is all that they look at. The eternal never crosses their minds.
Second, sin is so popular. The Roman statement, “All have sinned,” shows us the universal nature of sin. Not everyone has traveled oversees. Not everyone, believe it or not, likes chocolate. Not everyone drinks coffee in the morning. Not everyone has graduated from college. Not everyone is married. Not everyone has children. Not everyone goes to worship. However, everyone has sinned. All have sinned. You will not run into an adult today who has not sinned in his life. That includes the President, the CEO of your company, your mate, your grown children, the shepherds of your congregation, the preacher, even the apostles we read about in the Bible. It’s easy to do wrong when everyone around you are also doing wrong. Israel sinned and there you have remained.
Third, sin is hard to stop. It’s so easy to begin, but it’s hard to stop. Like many addictions, we can fall so easily into them and then find that we are shackled to that sin for decades. The alcoholic understands this. That first drink was so easy. Finding that last one is hard to do. The drug addict is the same way. The gambler, as well as the one hooked on porn. The habitual liar is also in this company. But, actually, this could be said of all sins. It’s easy to act without thinking. It’s easy to talk without giving thought to what you are saying. Doing right requires effort, diligence and a heart that wants to please the Lord.
Fourth, some would rather stay in the mud than get out and get clean. Some have become use to the environment of wrong. The people that they hang around with, the shows that they watch on TV, all revolve around wrong. Wrong decisions. Wrong attitudes. Wrong actions. Wrong words. Rarely is anything good, decent or kind found in the world that they have put themselves in. There is found no encouragement to do what is right. There is no example around them of those who are doing right. There is no avenue of moral rightness and goodness streaming into their hearts and minds. For some, they wouldn’t know how to do right if they wanted to. All around them, everywhere they look, is wrong. Couples living together without marriage. God’s name blasphemed. Drinking. Drugs. Loose talking. Trashy TV shows. All day long, this is the environment some are in. And, unlike the prodigal son, some have gotten use to being with pigs. They don’t mind the smell.
Fifth, some have the wrong image of what righteous living is like. They see a choice, fun or faith. Do what is right, which to them seems boring and lifeless, or have a blast doing what is wrong. Their perception is wrong. It may be that some Christians have given them that wrong image. Long faces. Constant frowns. Finger pointing. Judgmental spirits. Heads always shaking “no,” is not the picture I find of disciples of Jesus. They are rejoicing. They are upbeat, positive, and an enjoyment to be around. They have a confidence about them. They are hopeful and delightful. Staying down in the mud of sin is no place to be. God has made us for better things and better ways to live.
Israel sinned and remained there. You don’t have to. The road out may be difficult. It may involve going to people and apologizing. It may involve leaving wrong relationships. It may be cutting off some friends. It may mean getting some real help to conquer addictions. You don’t have to remain there. You don’t have to settle for things that are wrong. Your life can be richer, better and more fulfilling in Christ Jesus. Forgiveness can be yours. Hope can be a reality. Heaven can be more than a dream, but your home. These can be yours, but you can’t remain in sin.
The prodigal got up and came to his father. The father didn’t come out to the pig pen. The son came home. He did not remain with the pigs.
How about you? Are you ready to get up and get back to where you belong? Jesus is waiting…