I am currently reading the book of Judges for Bible study. The point is to read and meditate on one chapter daily using the SOAK method. I highly encourage you to study the Bible daily and for people like me that never learned how to study, the SOAK or SOAP method has done wonders! Now… back to the Israelites.
God had lead His people out of Egypt. There were hardships and complaining but they finally arrived in the Promised Land. Now, in Judges, we find these people forgetting their way. To me, they seem a bit ungrateful and a whole lot forgetful. God has done all these great and wonderful things, and you now think you can just do what you want and pick and choose when to listen to Him. In case you haven’t read Judges yet, here are some examples.
Judges 1 – the Israelites need help fighting off the Canaanites. God delivers.
Judges 2 – the angel of the Lord tells the Israelites, “I will never break my agreement with you. But you must not make an agreement with the people that live in this land. You must destroy the altars.”
The Israelites did not obey.
God tells them, “But you did not obey me. How could you do this? Now, I tell you I will not force out the people in this land. They will be your enemies, and their gods will be a trap for you”.
The people served God during the lifetime of Joshua and during the time of the elders that came after him but…
“After those people had died, their children grew up and did not know the Lord or what He had done for Israel.” They did what He said was wrong and God was angry with them. He handed them over to robbers that took their possessions. When they went out to fight, they were defeated. The Israelites suffered.
God sent them Judges to bring them back to the Way.
The book of Judges is filled with disobedience and rescue time after time. To the point that a rules oriented person like myself started thinking, “What is wrong with these people?” “God clearly said don’t do this and you did it anyway! How could you forget so quickly what He did for you? How do you think you got where you are?” I was getting pretty ticked off at these people and their behavior, it made no sense! I imagine God watching me in that moment the way I watch my own kids when they are trying to think something through and realization strikes. It hit me, we are old-school Israelites!
Does God clearly lay out for us what to do and what not to do? Of course, He does! The Bible, His instruction manual to the world.
Do we always do what He says? If you are honest. That’s a big NO. We have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glorious standard- Romans 3:23
How could you forget so quickly what he has done for you? Ouch! Count your blessings. Seriously, right now, count them. I can look back over my life and see where God has intervened. I can see how if I don’t keep God’s Word alive for my children and teach them how to teach their future children, there could be a lost generation just like in the days of Judges.
How do you think you got where you are? Good question self. How did you get here? Why did you zig when you might have zagged? Can you look back at where you were and see what was present or missing to put you where you are now?
Lots of self-reflection for me after judging the Israelites. Hind sight is 20/20 as they say. It is so important to spend time in God's Word every day! We need to constantly read and study so we can be ready to heal, teach and practice what God wants us to. So, let’s not be old-school Israelites but let's learn from their mistakes and try our absolute best not to repeat them. It is also worth remembering that God was there for them every time they messed up. He will do the same for His children today.
My name is Joni...