Summary: Mankind’s approach to protecting the innocent and compensating the violated will not please the LORD until Biblical Godly sorrow is implemented.
The Necessity of a Sin Exposed Church
From the time God raised up what we would recognize as the church structure to now, there has been sin in the camp which is eventually exposed. When Moses went up Mt. Sinai (Exodus 32) Aaron was appointed as the Lord’s representation to watch over the people of God. The people God rescued out of Egypt forced Aaron to build them a Golden Calf of which he made and then lied about. (Exodus 32:3-4; 32:34) The Bible says Aaron led them into great sin. (Exodus 32:21) There is also the account of Eli’s wicked sons. The Bible says “Eli’s sons were wicked men; they had no regard for the Lord.” (1 Samuel 2:1) “This sin of the young men was very great in the Lord’s sight, they were treating the Lord’s offering with contempt.” (1 Samuel 2: 17) The Bible says, “…They slept with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting.” (1 Samuel 2:22) The priest Eli’s oversight was so poor, the Bible says, “…a man of God” (1 Samuel 2:27) went to pronounce judgement. The Hebrew for “A man of God” here is likely an appellation or rather an indicator of a prophet of God. (Judges; Samuel; Kings; Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). 1 Samuel (p. 55). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.)
Their sin was so great in the sight of the Lord, Israel “lost thirty thousand foot soldiers. The Ark of God was captured and the [two wicked sons of Eli] died.” (1 Samuel 4:10-11) God’s chastisement was so heavy, Eli dies from hearing the news of the capture of the Ark of God, and that his two sons were dead. (1 Samuel 4:18) So horrific was the consequences of sin in the church the daughter-in-law of Eli – went into labor, she was overcome and died, her new born son lived and was named “Ichabod” meaning glory. (Achtemeier, P. J., Harper & Row and Society of Biblical Literature. (1985). In Harper’s Bible dictionary (1st ed., p. 416). San Francisco: Harper & Row.) The last words from Eli’s daughter-in-law lips were “…the Glory has departed from Israel.” (1 Samuel 4:22) The Hebrew word “Glory” (??????? ka?ô?) means the majesty or glorious presence of God. (Exodus 29:34; Baker, W., & Carpenter, E. E. (2003). The complete word study dictionary: Old Testament (p. 493). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.; Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) Bibles which translate the word Glory as capitalized have the correct revelation, “the presence of God Himself in Israel was no longer there.” (Merrill, E. H. (1985). 1 Samuel. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 436). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.; Youngblood, R. F., Bruce, F. F., & Harrison, R. K., Thomas Nelson Publishers (Eds.). (1995). In Nelson’s new illustrated Bible dictionary. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc.; Easton, M. G. (1893). In Easton’s Bible dictionary. New York: Harper & Brothers.)
The Old Testament holds the account of King David, his sin with Bathsheba. Just as God sent a man of God to address the sin of Eli’s poor overseeing the church. God sends the Prophet Nathan to deal with King David. Nathan’s rebuke sets the truth before us, “by doing this you have made the enemies of the LORD show utter contempt...” (2 Samuel 12:13 NIV)
In the New Testament we see sin in the camp of the Corinthian church. In his first letter the Apostle Paul dealt with serious doctrinal errors, moral sins and irregularities of Christian living including disorderly conduct in worship. In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian church he lays out the antidote for the church which was overcome with self-indulgence, a world view and the deception of the devil. In 2 Corinthians we read, “Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while — yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.”
The truth is, as we look at the Old and New Testaments, there comes a time when rebuke is necessary. When the church allows sin in the camp to go unchallenged so they can find favor with the crowd, trouble escalates, God continues to be hurt and His work is publically mocked. Sin in the church breeds a desire to be seen in leadership position with no hunger for a relationship with the Lord. Thus the pulpit is cheapened and God’s genuine presence is gone, “Ichabod” might as well be the sign over the door of that church. Sin is like a disease, if it is dealt with at the right time it can be eradicated, if not it can become an incurable growth with effects which scare the lives of many for years and years.