Summary: The hoop of history is a picture of human nature, the sin nature, and sinful man's history repeats itself. Israel's history is America's present! Link inc. to formatted text, audio/video, PowerPoint.
The Hoop of History
The hoop of history has always been rolling, and it is still rolling.
As a kid, I liked to play with hula hoops. And not just around my waist, but I would roll them. I would put a spin on them outside and throw them a ways and they would roll back to me. In similar fashion, one spot on the hoop would come around again and again, and it is a picture of human nature, the sin nature, and how a dog returns to his vomit.
This study about Israel is frustrating when we see how they turned their back on God over and over again in cycles. Sin, Suffering, Supplication, Salvation -- over and again. Especially frustrating is the fact that this was written for our admonition, because God knows we are just like them, and would live in a nation that would go in the same way itself.
And the children of Dan set up the graven image: and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land. And they set them up Micah's graven image, which he made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh [Jdg. 18:30-31].
Here is a picture of real apostasy. Who is Jonathan? He happens to be the grandson of Moses! These people had gone a long way from God. Remember that Moses had said, speaking for the Lord, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth" (Exod. 20:3-4). And here is Moses' grandson, a priest with an idol! This is tragic. The hoop of history is still rolling!
When I was a kid, with my parents in the ministry, I was shocked to learn some of the things that were going on within the organized church. It's always disappointing when people go liberal, but they do. Entire denominations have been started and filled up by Christians who went liberal, left a good Bible believing church, and went their own way. Colleges and Universities go liberal, and you and I will if we are not careful! The hoop of history is still rolling!
People who should know better go off the deep end every day. They are falling like flies, succumbing to many temptations of the world today. I went to college with friends who today have plummeted themselves off of cliffs to their own demise. Many who have thrown all standards to the winds in order to join movements that are not in God's best interest.
Dwight L. Moody was a real saint of God. But one of his sons held an office in the most liberal organization in this country. It's hard to understand how a son of a man like Moody could depart from the gospel of Jesus Christ and from the integrity and inerrancy of the Word of God! But that's the way it goes with the human heart. It happened in Israel, and it has happened in America.
Apostasy is an awful thing. And a nation's problems begin with religious apostasy. This is what happened to the nation of Israel. Here we see Moses' grandson serving as priest with Micah's graven image!
It starts in the homes of believers, spreads to the church, and on to the state. The hoop of history is still rolling! As we have seen, the downfall of a people begins with religious apostasy. From there it moves on to the second stage, which is moral awfulness. This is graphically illustrated in the frightful episode which concludes the Book of Judges. It centers about the tribe of Benjamin. This tribe engaged in gross immorality which led to civil war. It began with the men of Benjamin abusing and finally murdering a Levite's concubine. The other tribes try to exterminate the tribe of Benjamin. This period ends in total national corruption and confusion and with this the Book of Judges concludes: "In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes" (Jdg. 21:25).
And it came to pass in those days, when there was no king in Israel, that there was a certain Levite sojourning on the side of mount Ephraim, who took to him a concubine out of Beth-lehem-judah. And his concubine played the whore against him, and went away from him unto her father's house to Beth-lehem-judah, and was there four whole months [Jdg. 19:1-2].
These two verses give us another insight into the life of the children of Israel of that day, and it is a good illustration of Romans chapters 1 - 3. Can you imagine a Levite marrying a woman like that? Well, he did, and she played the harlot, left him, and went back to her father's house. This Levite followed her, was warmly received by her father, and stayed several days. Then the Levite and his concubine left and headed northward. They stayed one night in Gibeah, a city of the Benjamites. An old man who was also from mount Ephraim and was sojourning in Gibeah offered them hospitality. That night, while they were being entertained by their host, some men of the city demanded (as was done in Sodom before its destruction) the Levite for their homosexual gratification. Believing it would mean final death for him, he gave them instead his concubine. They abused her all night and absolutely caused her death by repeatedly raping her. This horrible act sounds like something that could have happened in our country -- does it not? In fact, the parallel to our contemporary society is quite striking as you read through this section. The hoop of history is still rolling!