This chapter begins the cycle of Israel turning to idolatry, being overcome by their enemies and oppressed, repenting, and God raising a judge to lead them back to freedom. It’s a painful cycle that is all too familiar to many Christians. We experience salvation, but after a time we slip into habits that lead to bondage. We cry out and God rescues us, but we soon become complacent and slip again. What a weary and depressing cycle that can be!
But that is NOT the abundant life God promised us!
Our pastor likens this cycle to stapling fresh rosebuds on a dead bush. They might look good at a distance, but the bush is still dead and the buds will fade quickly. Instead, we need the Holy Spirit infusing God-given, dead-raising, life-changing power into us constantly. Praise God, that is what Jesus promised us when He said, ““But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” (John 16:13)
As Paul told the Romans: “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” And as he warned Timothy, “Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.”
Through Christ’s sacrifice and the gift of the Holy Spirit, God has fulfilled the promise He made to Ezekiel: ”I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.”
Friends, if the same Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead, that parted the Red Sea, and that spoke the universe into being, lives within us, is there anything that Spirit cannot accomplish in us? The Israelites had to actually go to war; they couldn’t sit in their homes, partner with idolatry, and expect God to serve them. I must ready myself for battle daily with the armor of God, but step into the battle knowing I am simply a sword in the hand of the Warrior King.