Judges 2:7 – “So the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD which He had done for Israel.” NKJV
There was an old country preacher that I knew who often said regarding the presence of God, “It is better felt than telt…” I love feeling the presence of God and basking in the sunlight of His presence, power, and love. And, as I reflect on that preacher’s words, I find there is something in it worthy of consideration regarding experience. I personally, do not want to ever reach the place where I base my relationship with God on an emotional experience, but I never want to discount or discontinue that either. I long to make my permeant residence In His Presence here and in eternity.
In this particular passage, there is a realization that is important in life. I have heard about some of the great revivals of days gone by but did not experience many of them. However, I have been in the presence of God and had some incredible experiences and witnessed some powerful moves of God’s Spirit that lasted long in churches, communities, and people. I have been a part of some of the more modern revivals. I treasure those experiences. However, who among us is not cognizant of the fact that historical experiences we did not participate in do not captivate us as those we did?
This passage reveals that so long as Joshua the Moses mentored leader who lead the nation into the Promised Land and the elders who were also eyewitnesses lived God Reigned in the hearts of the people. When they died, there were no longer those who had experiential first-hand knowledge of God’s mighty deliverance and fulfilling His promise to bring them to the Land of Milk and Honey. When experience died there was a gradual erosion of commitment and a turning away or growing cold in dedication.
Every revival of the church lasted until the generation that witnessed and experienced it died and then it began to wane. The fervor and fire of that revival kept the Church on track in pursuing the truth that revival revealed and/or restored but when there were none who had experienced it around those who had heard about it could not embrace it with the same devotion nor feel the same compulsion to comply with the directives of the Spirit of God.
It became theoretical rather than experiential. Sadly, many call themselves Christian in much the same way, theoretical rather than experiential. We talk about God being able to “do all things” but if we have not witnessed or experienced His miraculous it is, to us, theory and when the chips are down, we cannot stand on the promise with confidence.
I know some who grew up in Church and in homes where there was a fervent dedication to God, prayer was a staple, and the Bible was the guide. They heard about it from their parents and grandparents but never truly experienced it for themselves and as those who had the experience received their eternal promotion the devotion and practices that kept the fire burning waned and diminished. That reminds me of the truth that “You cannot get to heaven on Mama or Papa’s faith or experience.”
Christianity is a personal experience and relationship, not something that is inherited like property. Growing up going to church may help you establish some important moral principles and ethics but will not save your soul. The fact that Mama or Papa had their names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life does not automatically inscribe yours there. It is an individual and personal experience. “If we (each individual) confess our sins, He (God) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.”
Experience or having a spiritual encounter with God personally is incredibly valuable in helping us to resist temptation and maintain our dedication as we “seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness.” If you do not personally know Jesus, I urge you to go into your prayer closet and call upon Him in repentance and receive His pardon and grace transforming you from darkness unto light. Jesus has promised that if Anyone will call upon Him, He will not reject us. Today is the day of salvation and now is the accepted time. Experience God for yourself and the Bible will no longer be a theory but reality.
God bless you as you open the door to today with all its problems, promises, and potential. Have a Great Day!