The last two weeks in our Simple Truths Bible study we have been looking at Judges chapters 6-8. This book could also be called the “Book of Failures” because God’s children, the Israelites, failed over and over to accomplish what the Lord had instructed them to do, drive their enemies out of the land. They also became entangled with the worship of idols and foreign gods each time that a judge was not directly ruling over them. They had a pattern in their lives, they failed to do what the Lord commanded them, they would fall into sin and idol worship which would lead to oppression and then when things were so bad they would cry out to the Lord. The Lord had mercy on them and would raise up an individual to rescue them from their situations and as long as that individual led them they would stay on the path, but as soon as the judge died Israel would turn back to evil.
Judges 2:16 “Then the LORD raised up judges to rescue the Israelites from their attackers. 17 Yet Israel did not listen to the judges but prostituted themselves by worshiping other gods. How quickly they turned away from the path of their ancestors, who had walked in obedience to the LORD’s commands. 18 Whenever the LORD raised up a judge over Israel, he was with that judge and rescued the people from their enemies throughout the judge’s lifetime. For the LORD took pity on his people, who were burdened by oppression and suffering. 19 But when the judge died, the people returned to their corrupt ways, behaving worse than those who had lived before them. They went after other gods, serving and worshiping them. And they refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways.”
There is so much that we can learn through this book. It can be easy to read about these people with an attitude of judgment and think that they were so awful, but if we will instead use this book as a warning and a mirror and realize how easy it can be to go back to ways that are familiar and not necessarily what God wants for our lives. Each time Israel would cry out to the Lord for help He would raise up a man to rescue them.
I encourage you to read through this book and look for the warnings that were given and also use it as a mirror to see if there are things the Lord would like to show you that you possibly need to be doing differently or give up. I know that I have areas in my own life that need growth and change that are only possible with His help. Israel would only be able to defeat their enemies by being obedient to the Lord and following His ways. It is the same for us, the only way we will truly be free from the stranglehold of sin is through surrender to God and allowing His Word to change us through the power of the Holy Spirit.
One of the great tragedies of this book is found in Judges 2:10 “After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the LORD or remember the mighty things he had done for Israel.” Generations of people were not being taught about the Lord making it so much easier for them to be led away into idol worship and dishonoring the Lord. We can make sure that does not happen in our own lives or in our families. Psalm 78:4 “We will not hide them from their children, Telling to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done. 5 For He established a testimony in Jacob, And appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers, That they should make them known to their children; 6 That the generation to come might know them, The children who would be born, That they may arise and declare them to their children, 7 That they may set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments.”
I pray that each of us will tell those around us about the goodness of God, His strength and the wonderful works that He has done. May our hope be set in God and that we would not forget what He has done for us and may we keep His commandments. May we each live in obedience to His word using it as a mirror and a warning where we need it.