Judges 10 begins another chapter in the story of the Israelites. They have a couple leaders post Abimelech – Tola and Jair. They let for 23 and 22 years respectively. When Jair died – the second of the two leaders – scripture tells us that the people “again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord”. They served other gods and turned their back on God. Wow this is a familiar story. It seems to be a generational thing and is related to the fact that they are not reminded of what their past was. There is no history lesson about the faithfulness of God. So they go brain dead and move away over and over again.
You can guess what happens. “They forsook the Lord and did not serve him…. the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel”. They forget about God and He then forgets about them. It really is pretty predicatable isn’t it? God expects His people to be dedicated and committed to Him and Him alone. They lose focus and move on and soon are on their own. God “sold them into the hand of the Philistines and….the Ammonites….they crushed and oppressed the people”. The people turn their back on God, and He does the same toward them. They are put into slavery of the enemy.
You know what happens next right? They get tired of being oppressed and then “the people of Israel cried out to the Lord”. They figure out that life is not nearly as good as it was. So they come back toward God admitting they have “sinned….forsaken….served the Baals”. The people have really irritated God this time. He reminds them “I saved you….Yet you have forsaken me”. Can you feel the pain in those words from the Father? This hasn’t happened once or twice. This is a pattern that really is a frustration to God. So much that he decides to let them live in distress for a while. He isn’t coming rushing to set them free. He tells them to go and cry out to the false gods they were serving and see how that goes. God is not happy.
Those words – I saved you….yet you have forsaken me – haunt me. Jesus could say the very same thing about me, and my guess you too. He saved me – He went to the cross and gave His all to set me free from the chains of sin and how do I repay Him? Far too often I totally forget or ignore Him. I fail to live intentionally as a Christ Follower. I focus on me and what I want. I forsake His sacrifice and do my own thing. I let life become all about me. He has saved us if we will only believe. But more than that, He wants a relationship with us that is based on our love and adoration. He wants and deserves our gratitude and praise. Are you living that way? Is Jesus the Lord of your life? Or are you forsaking Him? And must letting the relationship go cold until you need Him again. We need to be sure we don’t fall into that trap. While we can make fun of the Israelites and their short memory if we just look in the mirror we probably will see we are no different.