Today’s reading: Judges 1-3, Psalm 16, Luke 20
When the book of Joshua ends, God’s people are ready to experience all the blessings of the Promised Land. But wait…flip the page to Judges 1 and you quickly figure out it didn’t end up this way. Why? Because the Israelites did not obey God’s orders to totally eliminate the existing inhabitants of the land. And just like God said, the draw of a pagan, do whatever makes me feel good culture was ultimately too strong to resist. Eventually God’s people became enslaved to the indigenous people and their sinful ways. When they finally got to the point of desperation, they called out to God for help. Out of his loving kindness, God rescued them by sending a series of different Judges to lead his people. Thus, the name of the book!
It will not surprise you that God’s people continued to repeat the cycle of oppression and then deliverance. Every time a judge died and the Israelites experienced a leadership void, they got sucked back into the practices of the pagan culture and pulled aways from God. During the 325 year time period covered by the book of Judges, this happened 12 different times.
This book feels a little bit like a soap opera, and honestly, feels a lot like twenty first century America. Our sinful culture is attractive and it is easy for us to become enslaved to it. The book of Judges is a good reminder that the painful consequences of sin are certain. Fortunately, God’s deliverance for those who repent is also certain.