Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
Select a thought to read by choosing a collection, the month, and then the day:
“And when Moses saw that the people were naked, for Aaron made them naked, to the derision of their enemies. Therefore, Moses stood in the gate of the camp and said, ‘Who is for Jehovah with me?’ ”
When Israel made the golden calf at Mount Sinai, they carried out their worship of the beast with rituals of drunken nakedness. The disgrace brought on the name of the Lord was so great that God demanded immediate death for the participants. Moses, furious, stood at the gate of the camp and cried, “Who is for Jehovah with me!” Men from the tribe of Levi responded to Moses and came with their swords to offer themselves to the Lord. Moses then commanded them to go into the camp and to slay whomever they met, man, woman, boy, or girl, without regarding age or relation. Over three thousand were mercilessly slaughtered before God told Moses to call off his Levite avengers.
Moses’ love for God was demonstrated in his zeal against those who had perverted the faith and turned to idols after experiencing God’s power and revelation. He was indignant. He was as insulted and angry as he would have been if the offense had been against himself instead of against God. That’s how close his heart was intertwined with the heart of God. No one could despise God without Moses feeling despised. And that is how close to God every truly godly person has felt since the beginning of the world.
Jesus said that if our brother sins and then repents, we must forgive, even if he sins and repents 500 times a day. He did not, however, command us to forgive anyone who sins and does not repent. Quite the contrary, Paul commanded us to WITHDRAW OURSELVES from every brother who lives contrary to the will of God and brings a reproach on the name of the Lord Jesus:
6. Brothers, we command you in the name of our Master, Jesus Christ, that you stay away from every brother who is living disorderly, and not according to the tradition which they received from us.
But Paul did not have to give that commandment to anyone who truly loved God because they were already withdrawn from brothers and sisters in Christ who forsook God’s commandments. No one who truly loves God can bear to keep company with those who have turned away from righteousness because it is too painful to “hang out” with people who have brought disgrace on the Lord and the family of God.
David loved God. And it was his deep love of God that made him cry out, “Do I not hate those who hate you? And am I not grieved with those who rise up against you? I hate them with perfect hatred! I count them as my enemies” (Ps. 139:21–22).
When Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, became a companion to Israel’s weak-willed King Ahab and his wife Jezebel, God sent him a message by one of His prophets:
2. Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to King Jehoshaphat, “Should you help the ungodly and love those who hate the Lord? Therefore, wrath is upon you from before the Lord.”
Jehoshaphat was a good man, but terribly naive. And because of his friendship with fellow Israelites who had forsaken the right ways of God, who were unequally yoked in marriage to foreigners, who were worldly and proud, the little kingdom of Judah suffered horribly as soon as Jehoshaphat died. Because of Jehoshaphat’s friendship with those who had turned back from following after God, the holy line of kings who came from David was almost eradicated from the earth. Because Jehoshaphat embraced wicked, backslidden souls as his friends, those same wicked people seized power in little Judah and murdered all Jehoshaphat’s family, and all of David’s descendants, except for one infant, Joash, who was rescued from the slaughter but his nurse and hidden in the temple by the high priest, Jehoiada.
David hated the company of the wicked because he loved the presence of God. “Depart from me, you evildoers,” he cried out, “for I will keep the commandments of my God”(Ps. 119:118). He could not bear the company of the wicked because he was so thankful for the mercy God had shown to him: “Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity; for the Lord hath heard the voice of my weeping” (Ps. 6:8). David did not feel as he did because he was an Old Testament figure, and everything has changed now. He felt that way because he truly loved God. God described David as a man after His own heart (1Sam. 13:14). Has God’s heart changed? I don’t think so. He said, “I the Lord, do not change!” (Mal. 3:6).
Don’t even try to excuse your friendship with the wicked by calling it love. It won’t hold up in God’s court. To love and to help those who have been loved by Jesus and then brought his name into disgrace is no virtue. Jesus will cast into eternal fire those whom he washes from sin but then who despise him. The word of the Lord to you today is this: If you love God, you will forgive and embrace every fallen brother who repents and turns from his sin, every time. But if you forgive and embrace those who have sinned and not repented, you encourage them in their disgracing of the Savior, and you make yourselves, as their companion, an enemy of Christ.
Just recently, I was shown pictures of saints who think they are acceptable to God. They were publicly feasting with other saints who have fallen from all purity, into open fornication and other wickedness. It was impossible to tell by those pictures who was happier to be there in that celebration, the rebels against God or the ones who are maintaining an appearance of righteousness in the assembly of the saints. The disrespect to Jesus that they all were showing was heartbreaking, some of them were disgracing Christ because it is their normal way of life now to disgrace him, but others by frolicking with those foolish, fallen people.
It made me ashamed to know any of them, and I cried out in my spirit, “Who is for Jehovah with me?”