Why was Meroz Cursed?
Judges 5:23
Curse you Meroz, said the angel of the LORD, curse you bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the LORD…

What had Meroz done to deserve the punishment of God? In the first place, Meroz had omitted to do a positive and plain duty. They did not join with the enemy, but they refused to help the people of God. Then again, the sin of Meroz was a sin of lukewarmness, carelessness. Supposing England to have been overrun by an hostile army. Supposing that at last, gathering all her strength to repel her enemies from her fair country, one town in an important position refused to join in the battle at a critical moment, so that the enemies of England were not crushed as we desired to see them. Surely all England would ring with words of hatred for the people that could so act. Meroz was guilty of lack of patriotism, but a lack of patriotism in the case of the children of Israel was also a lack of proper religious zeal. Well, then, in the third place, Meroz let slip an opportunity; it neglected a crisis in its life. The war led up to the gates of Meroz, the opportunity was given to them of striking a blow for God against sinners. The opportunity was refused.

1. From the conduct of the people of Meroz, then, we may take three great warnings; and in the first place a warning against sins of omission. People are apt to think a very great deal too little about sins of omission. We are all of us apt to slur over the good things which we have left undone, and to think that the only thing hateful in the sight of God or offensive to Him whom we call our heavenly Father are the gross sins which attract perhaps the observation and hatred of others, and from which our own consciences do naturally recoil. How very often do you hear a person say in a satisfied way that they have never done harm to anybody. Such persons who say that are in great danger. They seem to see no sins though there may be many in their lives; but they have forgotten altogether that the object of their own crisis, the very object of their coming into the world, was not to do no sin, but to glorify God by their lives. Neglecting prayers. When we lift up our hands to God on high and call Him our Father, when we have that mighty privilege and that great duty accorded to us and yet neglect it, is it no sin, I say, to go day by day with careless prayers, or neglected prayers, to God? Surely there is some sin in neglecting our Church and our duties of public worship. And then again, while we think of habits of evil and so forth, we are inclined not to think half enough about encouraging habits of good, doing what is right as well as avoiding what is wrong. Then again, faith — a great duty to us. Yet how many go on through life without ever troubling themselves to look into the matters of their faith, or how many dare to live on through life with a sort of lurking or lingering doubt at their hearts, which chills all their acts of devotion and makes their lives unlovely in the sight of God. The curse of God came down on Meroz; doomed to judgment was the city, not because it did that which was wrong in opposing the people of God, but because she neglected a plain duty that God had put before her plainly.

2. Then we see, in the second place, that the sin of Meroz was a sin of lukewarmness. We are warned very frequently and very earnestly in Holy Scripture about the sin of lukewarmness, not being eager to take the part of God, not being eager to proclaim ourselves His children and to show ourselves worthy of the membership of His Church. There are many warnings to this effect, notably, the character of Esau in the Old Testament. And then you remember, surely, those awful denunciations in the Book of the Revelation against the lukewarm Laodicea. We are inclined to be very hot and earnest and keen about matters of business, or about matters of pleasure, or about matters of politics, or perhaps we may even add about matters of Church partisanship. But how about true religion? Oh, we say, "Let us take that easy. Our fathers did, perhaps, before us, why should not we? Do not let us take any trouble about that. That will come all right in the end."

3. And again, in the last place, we notice that the sin of Meroz was neglecting to seize an opportunity, letting a crisis in its history pass by without making use of it. The opportunity was given for striking a blow for God, and it was let slip by. We are in danger in this way. There are crises in every man and woman's life, crises in the lives of all of us, which God gives to us; some of very vital importance — opportunities, which may perhaps never come again, of striking some blow for God, or of gaining some great spiritual victory over the sins which beset us. It is very important to remember this.

(Cecil Hook, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: 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.

WEB: 'Curse Meroz,' said the angel of Yahweh. 'Curse bitterly its inhabitants, because they didn't come to help Yahweh, to help Yahweh against the mighty.'

The Moral of the Curse of Meroz
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