From Gilgal to Bochim

 •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 5
The Book of Judges is the book of the unfaithfulness of Israel after God had performed the promises made by Joshua. The Israelites had to sojourn in Egypt until the iniquity of the Amorites was full. God only pronounced His judgment, on the world since the world rejected Jesus. The Book of Joshua contains the account of the accomplishment of the promises. The Canaanites represented the influence of Satan, the prince of this world. God gave judges to Israel to chasten him for his unfaithfulness, and to deliver him from the hand of those that spoiled him. It is the history of man from the beginning. Every time that God has set him in blessing he falls immediately into iniquity. Such is what happened to Israel from the entry into Canaan. How? This is what we must examine for our instruction.
It is only when iniquity comes to its height that God judges. The death of Christ is the height of the iniquity of the world. God withdraws His children from the world because the world is judged. Therefore God acts in grace and sends His gospel. God would give a law if the world were not condemned, because it would need a rule of conduct. God has employed all the means possible to act on the heart of man before condemning men. Before the condemnation came on the race, there was no grace to receive. Before Jesus God sent prophets to withdraw men from evil; since Jesus God by grace would reconcile the world, His enemies, to Himself. The friendship of the world is enmity against God. If I had seen yesterday the city of L—crucify my father, it would be impossible for me today to be their companion, or to retain friendship under such circumstances. The gospel of grace is the sole language which one can hold. The disciples of Christ found themselves in this situation. They could not make themselves friends of the high priests, and of the chief men; but they proclaim to them the grace and the mercy of God.
Nothing is changed at bottom. We have the proof of what the heart of man is. All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. There is a barrier which cannot be crossed. As regards our affections and our habits, we are often of the world. Israel wished for Canaan, but in the wilderness pined after the potherbs of Egypt. To have heaven one must vanquish the world and its habits in the circumstances where we are. There is only the grace of God which can give us strength. It is in vain that one desires heaven if the perseverance which is produced by the Spirit of Christ is not in us to cut off the right hand and pluck out the right eye. One must often break ties the most intimate. The approbation of God can alone sustain and suffice us.
God enters into alliance with us, and wishes us to break every alliance with the world, because the world is judged. One cannot be of the world and of Jesus at the same time. God had fully manifested His power in favor of Israel; the walls of Jericho fell. But the sin of idolatry enfeebled the people; Israel makes leagues with their enemies. Every time that he fought his enemies, the Eternal was with him, and he conquered. The enemy was vanquished by the power of God. But in place of relying on the Eternal, they let in the heathen to live with them, or they lived with the Canaanites. They made alliance with the judged enemies. But God cannot be with His children when they join that which God has condemned. If the church makes concessions to the world, the world is often an aid to the church, but the church becomes its tributary. There is no longer the feeling of the almighty power of God; and the church falls.
It was at Gilgal that Israel was sanctified to the Eternal. The angel of the Eternal was there, because He honors faithfulness. Bochim signifies tears. The alliance of Christians with the world leads them to sorrow and tears. The Eternal had made Israel come out of Egypt, and had accomplished all for him. God has also accomplished all for us, He has conquered death for us. “Ye have not obeyed my voice; why have ye done this?” God then leaves the Canaanites among the sons of Israel: it is a judgment He pronounces against them. God cannot sanction the world which has condemned His Son. When the heart fails in confidence in God, it treats with His enemy, but it cannot be at ease with God. He who has had beside him the altar of a false god, cannot go up to the sanctuary of the Eternal. Communion with God and discernment are lost. Conscience even cannot any longer condemn evil, because it has got hard. From him who has not, even that which he has will be taken away. Then comes continual sorrow. If the soul finds itself at ease, it is that the Spirit of Christ is not there. To recognize the principles of the world there is the source of the fall of Christians and of the church; it is to recognize that which God has condemned.
That which leads us from Gilgal to Bochim is this unfaithfulness. God permits the slipping back, but does not sanction it. Our enemies and worldliness are there in order to test our faithfulness and to teach us war, until rest comes. God acts in us, and Satan in the world; therefore we are the stronger. If there is even an error of judgment, it is because the eye was not single. And because we have come out of Egypt to be the people of God, we ought to combat all the deceitful habits of the world.
O that by the presence of the Holy Spirit we may see clearly. “Ye are not of the world,” says our Lord Jesus, “as I am not of the world;” and this whilst in the world.