Weeping with the Enemy

June 22, 2015 at 2:38 pm | Posted in Weeping Creeping and Sleeping with the Enemy | 10 Comments
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The Israelites were traveling as a nation. They carried their place of worship – their Tabernacle – with them. They were strangers in a strange land. They were supposed to stay separated from the pagans they encountered because God did not want the false religions and these false gods they worshiped corrupting His people.

So, instead of attacking the Israelites, the Moabites sent women into their camp – women who did not have the same standards of purity and marital fidelity that God had commanded His people to have.

And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab. And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods. And Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel.

Numbers 25:1-2

This was so much more effective than attacking with an army of soldiers. It caused their own God and their own earthly leader, Moses, to have to deal with this sin very harshly.

And the Lord said unto Moses, Take all the heads of the people, and hang them up before the Lord against the sun, that the fierce anger of the Lord may be turned away from Israel.

Numbers 25:4

God told Moses to “take the heads” of the families, which does not mean that He ordered them to be decapitated, but that He wanted the leaders and princes of the tribes – the ones who had failed to restrain their families – to be rounded up. They were to be killed and displayed before sundown – in broad daylight – so that everyone could see, and possibly so that their bodies were left hanging up, and not buried, to show that they were cursed as Covenant-violators. God also sent a plague into the camp, and people were dying by the thousands from what appeared to be disease.

And Moses said unto the judges of Israel, Slay ye every one his men that were joined unto Baalpeor.

Numbers 25:5

Now we see why there was weeping: Israelites killing Israelites; dead bodies everywhere; God angry – fiercely angry – at His own people for their rebellion and sin, after all He had done for them. This is a brutal tableau.

Generally in the Bible there are two types of weeping. There is genuine weeping over genuine sorrow – sometimes caused by the pain of separation and even death – but often caused by sincere repentance over sin. One example is:

And David went up by the ascent of mount Olivet, and wept as he went up, and had his head covered, and he went barefoot: and all the people that was with him covered every man his head, and they went up, weeping as they went up.

II Samuel 15:30

King David’s son, Absalom, had rebelled against him because of David’s own sin. David wept, though, not out of despair, and not because he thought he was getting an unfair deal. He wept because He knew His Heavenly Father was displeased, but forgiveness was still available.

Another good example is:

Now when Ezra had prayed, and when he had confessed, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, there assembled unto him out of Israel a very great congregation of men and women and children: for the people wept very sore.

Ezra 10:1

As Ezra was trying to rebuild the Temple, the people fell into sin, divorcing their wives and marrying pagan women. The result was that people began weeping in confession (agreeing with God) and repentance (determined to try to make things right). God does not turn away those who are truly brokenhearted, if they are brokenhearted because they have betrayed Him.

Weeping selfishly is a sign of immaturity in babies when they do it as a means to get their own way, but it is actually a sign of maturity for Christians who finally see the depths of our sin, and the richness of God’s mercy in forgiving us.

There is also, though, a type of weeping which is useless. One example is:

For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.

Hebrews 12:17

The weeping of Esau was the weeping of the “I wish I had not done that, because it did not work out well for me” variety. His tears were not the tears that say, “I am sorry for what I did because it was against the God Who loved me.”

Another is example is:

Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.

Luke 13:23-28

This is the weeping of “it’s too late for me now” and the weeping of “I’m sorry I got caught,” not the weeping of “I was wrong and God was right. I humble myself and ask for the mercy I do not deserve.”

There is a weeping before the Lord, and these tears affect Him because they are really about Him and our relationship with Him, but there is a weeping with the enemy, too, whether that enemy is Satan, the world, or our own flesh. This weeping falls under the category of feeling sorry for ourselves, and it results in tears that wash the altar of a false little god called “me.” They are ineffectual and useless tears, and if you and I find ourselves having this kind of pity party, we don’t need a pat on the back or a soothing lullaby. We need a strong dose of Bible truth and a good Holy Spirit-shaking and slap across the face, in order to get the focus off of ourselves, and to get it on the crucified and resurrected Savior Who has the power to wipe away all tears once and for all in eternity.

Next time, we will see the results of one couple’s callous actions in the midst of all this weeping.

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