Nevertheless the LORD raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them. – Judges 2:16.
Joshua had died at the age of 110 years. The people had followed the LORD all during the time of his life and even the rulers that served with him. However, once Joshua had passed, the people turned away from God and began to serve the idols of the Canaanites. They forgot their God who had brought them out of Egypt with a mighty hand and outstretched arm! The LORD was furious with the Israelites and turned them over as captives to their enemies around them. When the people would suffer for a while under their oppressors, the LORD would raise up a judge who would rule Israel for a time and help to deliver the nation out of captivity.
The one thing that we can always be sure of is that God has compassion on those whom He loves. He told Moses that He would have compassion upon whom He would have compassion. Because Israel was the descendants of the patriarchs, God held true to His promises and delivered the Promised Land to them. However, He conditioned their stay there in the land by stipulating that the people had to be careful to obey all of the commands He’d given them through Moses. The people would listen to their rulers and later the judges for a while, but they always turned away from God and found themselves in bondage to some foreign captor.
Doesn’t this situation sound a lot like the condition of the Western church particularly in America? In Europe they have all but given up on God. Here, in the USA, we still seem to have a sense of connection with the LORD, but that relationship is quickly following that of our sister across the pond. People here like to call themselves God’s people but live in sin like the devil. They think, speak and act just like the world. It would be hard pressed to discern real believers anymore by outward observance in many places.
However, God still loves His people no matter where they are. Even today when His people mess up, He is compassionate and willing to forgive us IF we confess our sins to Him and turn away from our wickedness. Those who keep licensing sin in their lives through the grace of God justification walk a slippery slope that leads to hell actually. I would venture to say that people who intentionally continue to walk in sin and never truly repent of their sins were never saved and are sinning wolves costumed in sheep’s clothing to devour those that fall prey to them.
America, we had better wake up and start to turn our lives around and put away from us all of the idols of the world around us: money, houses, cars, things, and even people. We had best focus our attention on serving and living for God not the created. The Israelites, as we will later learn in following books, kept playing around in this cycle of repentance and rebellion until God finally banished them from His presence and dispersed them around the world. The Bible says that God will not contend with mankind forever. There will be a day of reckoning in the future, and it’s closer than you think! Keep playing with fire, and you will get burned! Play with eternal fire, and you’ll be tormented forever!
Father, I come to You in the name of Your Son, Jesus. I ask that You help me to always remember the failures of those that preceded me as a deterrent to the lifestyle they lived that cost them everything in eternity. I used to play these kinds of games with sin and nearly lost my physical and spiritual lives. However, You thumped me upside the head with the Truth of Your Word and showed me the errors of my ways and called me to follow Your ways that lead to life everlasting! Guide me down the narrow path. Spirit, please sir, lead the way, and I will follow. If I should step off the path momentarily, I will humble myself before You, confess my wrong, and change my behavior accordingly as You instruct. Thank You, God, for redeeming me from myself and those that have mistreated me in this life. Amen.