Judges 2 is a very revealing chapter. An angel of the Lord comes to the people and said “I will never break my covenant with you” which included a covenant where the people were to worship only the Lord. But as you might expect, the people failed their side of the bargain. “You have not obeyed my voice” which are bad words for anyone to hear. Disobedience of the Father is a bad thing. It is a sign of bad things to come.
And that is exactly what happens. First of all, God says the people in the land “shall become thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare to you”. No longer is He going to clear the way for them. They are on their own. And as expected, once they heard those words, they immediately “lifted up their voices and wept”. They understand they have made a mistake. Joshua had kept them on course. They were truly refocused again on obedience to God. “The people served the Lord all the days of Joshua….all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great work that the Lord had done”. Leadership kept them on the right coarse with some temporary bumps. But then Joshua dies at 110. And the other elders died as well.
Bad days are coming now. “There arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done”. They failed to drive deep the need to remember. Over and over scripture tells us we have to remember – we have to train up our kids to know what God has done. That obviously didn’t happen. The result is stunning. This is the next generation not three or four later. This is the generation that follows that of Joshua and other obedient leaders. They “did what was evil…..abandoned the Lord….went after other gods….down to them….provoked the Lord to anger…..abandoned the Lord….the anger of the Lord was kindled….he sold them into the hand of their surrounding enemies….terrible distress”. It is not a pretty sight. Things are really going badly because they were not taught to remember.
God doesn’t stop pursuing them even though they are disobedient. “Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them”. He creates a way to save them from themselves. “Yet they did not listen to their judges”. Even with God’s attempts to give them new leadership and bring them back to obedience, they have ignored him. “Whenever the judge died, they turned back and were more corrupt”. We need to learn from this. We need to make sure we find ways to tell the story of God’s faithfulness. We need to remember. The result of the disobedience was severe. Check out what scripture tells us: “So the Lord left those nations” – not some simple little slap on the hand. God left them to fend for themselves.