“And now ye purpose to keep under the children of Judah and Jerusalem for bondmen and bondwomen unto you: but are there not with you, even with you, sins against the LORD your God?”
II Chronicles 28:10
It was a confusing and spiritually dark time for the nations of Israel and Judah. Because of Judah’s wickedness, the Lord delivered them into the hands of the Syrians; and the Israelites slaughtered 120,000 of the valiant men in Judah. As the Israelites were taking 200,000 of their brethren captive, Oded the prophet confronted them with the words of our text. The Israelites were purposing to keep the children of Judah as slaves. But Oded said, “are there not with you, even with you, sins against the LORD your God?”
Judah was delivered into the countries of Syria and Israel because they had forsaken the Lord. Israel was only able to plunder Judah because God was chastening His people. Israel was taking advantage of the situation, taking much spoil and intending to enslave the women and children. God used the prophet Oded as a voice of conscience and reason. The preacher pointed out that while Israel was benefiting from the weakness brought on by Judah’s sinful deeds, Israel had their own sins to consider. Would it be right for Israel to gain from Judah’s sins, when the nation of Israel was also in a state of great national sin as well? They received the prophet’s message and allowed the captives to return home.
Israel’s behavior points out something that is similar and somewhat common among God’s people today. Sometimes when Christians see God chastening one of His children, or hear of someone who has fallen into sin and is experiencing the accompanying trials, they may act as though they are perfectly sinless in their own lives. To paraphrase the prophet Oded, he asked Israel, “What about your sins?” Imagine the hypocrisy of the men of Israel, plundering, killing, and capturing the backslidden families of Judah, when their own lives were filled with idolatry and wickedness. This should be a lesson for us all. Before we exploit the calamities of those who are fallen into sin, we should ask ourselves, “What about my sins?” This resembled the behavior of the hypocrites who wanted to stone the immoral woman, when Jesus said for the one without any sin to cast the first stone. When we are tempted to be condemning and critical of other’s faults, let us not forget about our sins.