Archive for January 23rd, 2015

Judges 2

Judges 2 describes the sad state of humanity when it comes to our relationship with God.  God said it this way: “I will never break my covenant with you….you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land….you shall break down their altars”.  Pretty simple and clear.  God promises His faithfulness in their relationship as long as the people kept up their side of the covenant.  But of course, they didn’t.  “You have not obeyed my voice”.  Obedience is such a simple thing, yet it confounds humanity all the time.  They had a perfect opportunity – God’s power all over them if they would only obey.

They chose not to.  So God’s response was “I will not drive them out before you, but they shall become thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare to you”.  That is quite a change from the promise of God’s power.  So the people figure out quickly they were on a bad course.  “As soon as the angel of the Lord spoke these words….the people lifted up their voices and wept”.  They knew they were toast without God’s power.  So they got things right – at least for the short term.  “And the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great work that the Lord had done for Israel”.

We should have been able to write a happily ever after story.  But we can’t.  Memories are short, or even worse, generations don’t pass along the truth so the following folks can live according to the past learnings.  “And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel”.  There is a significant leadership failure here.  The previous generation had learned a difficult lesson but didn’t bother to assure that future generations would not repeat it.  So, “the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord….served the Baals….abandoned the Lord….went after other gods….bowed down to them….provoked the Lord to anger….abandoned the Lord”.  And as you would expect, that didn’t go well.

“So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he gave them over to plunderers, who plundered them….the hand of the Lord was against them….they were in terrible distress”.  You can’t disobey God and get a good outcome.  He told them what not to do, and they ignored the commandments and did what they wanted.  God heard their cries and “raised up judges, who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them”. Even after their unfaithfulness, God tried to help.  “Yet they did not listen to their judges….Whenever the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge, and he saved them….whenever the judge died, they turned back and were more corrupt than their fathers”.

Do you see a pattern here?  Sin never ends well.  And the people were in a cycle of walking with God and then going brain dead and letting self-take over.  God was patient and tried many times to give them the opportunity to get things right.  They just didn’t get it, so God became angry and called out their disobedience and “the Lord left those nations”.  How sad – that the very chosen people of God turned their back on Him and as a result became a people who were left behind by Him.  Obedience matters!

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