A Curse on Neutrality

The curse of Meroz teaches us that it is not wise to attempt to “sit on the fence.” 

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Please consider these words… Judges 5:23— Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the LORD, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the LORD, to the help of the LORD against the mighty.  The Book of Judges may be described best by the word “neglected” as far as the amount of time Christians spend studying its content.  However, there are some powerful lessons recorded within its pages.  If you remember the way we divided time into Fifteen Bible Periods, you recall that the Period of the Judges was one of the fifteen.

The KJV does not clearly show it, but all except the last phrase of verse 31 in Judges 5 is poetical, it is “Deborah’s Song.”  When I think of Judges, usually the word CYCLE comes to my mind.  The period might best be pictured by the Roller Coaster at the Amusement Park.  Up and down, up and down, was the nature of this period.  For a time Israel would be faithful, then they would become more and more like their heathen neighbors.  God would judge them by allowing their enemies to become their conquerors.  Then the people would cry out to the Lord for deliverance and God would send a deliverer, a Judge, if you will, and the cycle would begin anew.

If we study the context of Judges 5:23, we find that apparently the people of this location, MEROZ, did not help their brethren in battle against the Canaanites.  Deborah, by inspiration, is rebuking and passing on God’s judgment against their attempt at maintaining neutrality.  They were near to the place of fighting, yet entered not into the fray!  By the fact that they are condemned it ought to be obvious that they had opportunity, yet acted not.

Since these people of Meroz are mentioned nowhere else in Scripture, this very negative remark serves as the only remembrance of them.  In this sad status they share with the New Testament city of Chorazin (Matthew 11:21).  Jesus pronounced a woe upon Chorazin because of their unwillingness to take a stand with Him, even in the face of mountains of evidence.

CURSE YE BITTERLY–These strong words from the prophetess and Judge Deborah naturally stir us to inquire about the cause of the severe words.  In our Bible reading if we will seek to be students of theology (study of God), we will be wise and greatly blessed in that wisdom.  What does this incident from the days of the Judges teach us about God?

Quite obviously, it teaches us that we need to be careful not to seek the false comfort of neutrality when it comes to the battle of good versus evil.  It is NOT pleasing to God for His people to hide from the battle when His will has called us to become involved.  Rather our position must be to make our choice known, put on the whole armor of God, and stand and defend (Ephesians 6:13).

The curse of Meroz teaches us that it is not wise to attempt to “sit on the fence.”  Our Lord teaches clearly in the Sermon on the Mount—Matthew 6:24… No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.  Of course, the context here has to do with compromise to attain wealth, but any way that we show lack of commitment to the Lord would put us into the “despising Him” category.  There is great peer pressure these days just to “live and let live.”  Pluralism is having its HEY DAY in our society!  But we will not be any more pleasing to God today with that approach than were the people of Meroz in their day.

We might wish to ask ourselves in an honest bit of self-examination: “Is there any way that I sit as Meroz to the work of the Lord here?”  The work of the Lord, the work which the Lord has placed into the hands of His church, is saving souls.  Can it be said of me that I am allowing others to do this work and I am idly watching?

It is a wonderful thing to have peace.  To be lovers of peace is part of living the Christian life.  However, Satan is out there and he is having enormous success in causing our family members, friends, neighbors, and co-workers to live in such a way that their end will be that place prepared for him and his angels (Matthew 24:41).  For us not to enter the battle, having knowledge that there is a cure for the disease of sin, is Meroz-like neutrality and endangers our own destiny.

May we all dedicate ourselves to the proposition that we will learn well from the folks at Meroz.  That doing as they did will NOT be our course.  That having the knowledge that Christ will be WITH US (Matthew 28:20), as we go forth with the gospel, we will not cease to carry that sword of the Spirit.  That we will make it our practice to live in such a way that we can be “read” (2 Corinthians 3:1-2) with soul-saving profit to all with whom we come in contact.  And let us be praying continually that the Lord will be able to use us mightily in the battle for truth, and right, and the salvation of lost souls.

Author: David Lemmons

Preacher for Maple Hill Church of Christ near Benton, KY. Married to Diane for 44 years. Father of Heather, Aaron, and Rachel. Grandfather of Maverick, Serenity, and Cannon.

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