Right now in my own Bible study I'm reading through the book of Judges. I'm struck by the same type of verse I see over and over. Often, the verse says: "The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord gave them into the hand of ____________. "
The people of Israel were given into the hands of various enemies due to their idol worship and many other sins. Another thing I noticed as I read Judges is the time of being in the hands of their enemy increased over time. Also, in chapter 4 of Judges you will read about a woman warrior named Deborah and Jael a woman who put a tent peg in a man's head with a hammer and killed him. Talk about tough women!!
Judges is actually very hard and sad to read. There is this continual rebellion of God's people, repentance, following God for awhile, rebellion again pattern. The Israelites don't seem to get it. They reject God's holiness and His ways. Also, we see God's anger for their rebellion. Judges 2:12 says,"And they abandoned the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed down to them. And they provoked the LORD to anger."
The Israelites would cry out to God and God would deliver them most of the time. Read these most disturbing verses in Judges 10:10-16. God eventually delivers Israel once again but at first God says go to your other gods you worship and get help from them.
So, what does all of this have to do with us, today? As a child reading about the Israelites I remember saying, "Why don't they get it? Just serve God and everything will be okay?" Yet, they continued to sin. Today we do not have Baal or Asheroth poles that we worship, but we do have our idols. Idols can be anything we put above God including, children, spouse, etc. Do we spend more time on the computer than we do with God?
God waits for us patiently to return to Him, but his patience is not limitless. What I observed in Judges is the Israelites began to rebel for longer and longer periods of time before repentance. They indulged in their sin and became callous to the things of God. In some places they didn't even know it was a sin anymore to worship idols.
We can never take our sin and rebellion lightly. God does not. He is a Holy God and requires perfection. The only way we can be in His presence is through Christ work on the cross and Christ righteousness. We need to be serious about catching our sin early and not letting it continue to where we have a hard heart towards sin and we wink at our own sin.
Here are some things to consider:
1. What people or things in my life do I put above God?
2. What sin in my life have I been ignoring and unwilling to deal with?
3. Ask God to show you your sin and repent of your sin. Repent means to turn away from sin and to be different. Walk in the other direction.
4. Is there a pattern in my life of walking closely with God and then rebelling? Is the rebelling time starting to last longer than the walking close with God time? Then, there needs to be a change.
5. Another big error of the Israelites was forgetting what God had done for them in Egypt and many other things. Do you forget what God has done for you in the past? Do you doubt His goodness? Take time to thank him for He has done for you over the years and His faithfulness in spite of your walk with Him.
6. Can we strive to not be like the Israelites of the Old Testament and walk closely with God, in the power of the Holy Spirit, and leave the rebellion behind.
God is our deliverer. Yet, He expects obedience. When we are being disobedient and unrepentant how can we expect God to deliver us?
May we all learn from the mistakes of the Israelites. Please share your feedback and comments on this study.