“Now what have you against me, Tyre and Sidon and all you regions of Philistia? Are you repaying me for something I have done? If you are paying me back, I will swiftly and speedily return on your own heads what you have done. For you took my silver and my gold and carried off my finest treasures to your temples. You sold the people of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks, that you might send them far from their homeland. Joel 3:4-6
Why did Joel call out Tyre and Sidon? Because of their disloyalty. Why did Jesus call out the ‘faithful’ cities of Korazin and Bethsaida, saying Tyre and Sidon would fare better than them at judgment? Because of their disloyalty. In Bible times, Tyre and Sidon had plundered the wealth of the kings of Israel, and had stood by silent as their Israeli neighbors were sold as slaves to Greece. They weren’t loyal friends, neighbors, or allies, even as they had once been.
Not so different from idolatry, when we commit any sin, we’re also showing we’re disloyal to God. When we unjustly criticize our employers, our politicians, our families, our friends, we’re being disloyal. When we don’t stand with people who have stood by us, we’re being disloyal. When we stand by silently as evil encroaches further into our world, we’re being disloyal. When we do these things to others, we do them to God.
It hurts when someone is disloyal to you. When someone who you counted on, you depended on, abandons you, it hurts deeply. It hurts, perhaps, more than other things they could do because you thought you could count on their loyalty. It’s true in relationships; it’s true in friendships; it’s true in alliances; it’s true in employment. It’s true in our faith in God.
How must the Lord feel each time we sin against Him (and that’s every sin)? I can’t put myself in God’s shoes, but I can imagine how hurt He must feel because I feel deeply hurt when the betrayal of disloyalty affects my life. I know how it hurts others when I’m disloyal, and I feel the burning shame of doing so.
The good news is that He’s God and I’m not, we’re not. He found in Himself the deep love that is needed for mercy and forgiveness, and offered them to us because of who He is. And He remembers our sins no more. I couldn’t do that; neither could you; we’d forgive, but not forget. When we’re disloyal to God and we confess & repent, He fully forgives.
…And yet, if we don’t repent, if we wear our disloyalty as a badge of honor, God will allow the consequences of our sin to visit us, to play out as they will. That means righteous judgment.
For more reading: 1 Kings 15:18, 2 Chronicles 21:16-17, Ezekiel 27:13, Zechariah 9:13, Joel 3:7
Lord, forgive my disloyalty to you and my fellow man. I’m sorry. I repent.