Coming to the Help of the Lord
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…

1. Meroz is never again mentioned in Scripture, and its exact site is unknown. Its sin resulted in its extinction. What was that sin?

(1) It was, first, an act of selfishness. The inhabitants of Meroz cared only for their own interests. The yoke of Jabin did not apparently lie so heavily upon them as upon the northern tribes. They could see no advantage to be gained for themselves by a military revolt, and they would run no risks in connection with it.

(2) It was, therefore, a neglect of duty. They did not fight against their brethren, but they would not fight for them. It was a purely negative sin, a sin of omission, but it was none the less a distinct and positive "No" to the call of duty.

(3) This refusal was an act of impiety. It betrayed a sad lack of patriotism and a contemptible indifference towards national freedom and honour. These miserable lovers of case had the souls of slaves, and were unworthy of their ancestral traditions. Their indifference was, moreover, impious. It implied a disregard of God, whose worship they were bound to uphold.

2. Meroz has perished; but did none of its inhabitants escape? Have they not had a numerous progeny and become a great people spread over the face of the earth? Their descendants are not unknown among ourselves. Is there nothing in our life that corresponds to the sin of Meroz? Consider our position in relation to the gospel of Christ, and we shall see. Our Lord has summoned us to the conquest of the world. All souls are His — His by right of creation and redemption, as they should also be by willing submission. That submission is hindered by men's ignorance and error, by reckless indifference and deliberate sin, by calculating worldliness not less than by unbridled self-indulgence. Against these foes the whole force of the gospel is directed. Every man, be he learned or ignorant, an Englishman or a Hindoo, is interested in that fact, and needs the help of which it is at once the pledge and the source. Christ, and Christ only, is the Saviour of the world; even as, on the other hand, every man belongs unto Christ, and is bound by the most stringent and absolute obligation to Him who is Lord of all. Christ comes not to this conquest alone, but as "Captain of the Lord's host." He summons His people to His side, gives them spear and shield, and equips them for the fight. We have, of course, the power of refusal. Our Lord asks for willing service, and will have no pressed men in the ranks. You can escape this service if you are so minded, meeting Christ's call and your brother's need with a flat denial.Multitudes do so fail, and why?

1. Some are influenced by a false intellectualism. Let us, as far as it is in our power, know the best that has been thought and said, come in contact with master minds, understand their working, see things as with their eyes, and catch the glow of their enthusiasm. To gaze on the fair forms of truth and beauty, to listen to the harmonies of perfect music, is a pure delight, and imparts an added charm to life. But such an aim touches only a small part of our duty. The knowledge of Christ — the crown of all science — can only be acquired by the obedience of faith and love; while no amount of self-culture or of aesthetic worship will justify us in ignoring the sins and sorrows of mankind, or in neglecting the opportunities we possess of meeting the terrible pressure of human need.

2. Other men are absorbed in business. Their main aim is to get on in the world, to become rich and prosperous, to make good bargains, and to ensure at any rate a steady increase of their capital or their savings. Coal, steam, and iron have their devout, if not their disinterested, worshippers. Money, which is designed to be a means, becomes an end in itself — committed to men in trust, it is hoarded or used as if it were their own, and they do nothing to rescue the heathen, because they are themselves the slaves of "covetousness, which is idolatry."

3. A third class make no response to the call of Christ because of their love of pleasure. They care only for amusement, for sensuous excitement, or something to relieve the weariness and ennui of life, and to make it bright, eager, and thrilling. Enslaved and befooled by passion, "all that is within them doth condemn itself for being there."

4. Yet others are prevented from joining us in our campaign because of their theological laxity. One religion, they urge, is as good as another, and to convert the heathen is a superfluous, if it be not an impossible, task. And similarly when men excuse their indifference to this great work on the ground of the coldness, the worldliness, and the strife of the Churches at home. The best of Christians are no doubt imperfect, the ideal of their life is but inadequately realised, and many who profess to be Christ's are sadly inconsistent. We deplore the fact, but it does not exempt us from a plain duty. Still the Saviour asks, "What is that to thee? follow thou Me."

(James Stuart.)

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 Hopelessness of Opposition to God
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