Individuals who lead, inspire and challenge……..
So yesterday we saw how the Israelites entered the Promised Land and settled there. They conquered and claimed the land, but in some cases, they did not finish the job. They were unable to expel the Canaanites and had to settle for living alongside them. This was going to lead to temptation and compromise and tension and corruption.
The angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, “I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land I swore to give to your ancestors. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you, and you shall not make a covenant with the people of this land, but you shall break down their altars.’ Yet you have disobeyed me. Why have you done this? And I have also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; they will become traps for you, and their gods will become snares to you.’” Judges 2:1-3
I’ve kept my side of the bargain. What are you playing at?
I’ve done all this for you. Is this how you repay me?
They may weep BUT….Joshua has died. The people who served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua have died. The elders who outlived Joshua and had seen all the great things the Lord had done for Israel have died.
This is a new generation. A generation that has not lived through it all. Not experienced it for themselves. A generation that is not able to learn from its people’s history.
They gave in. They did evil in the eyes of the Lord. They served the Baals. They abandoned their God. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They aroused the Lord’s anger.
And so God gave them into the hands of raiders who plundered them. He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around. He allowed them to face defeat.
They were in great distress.
A vicious circle is established……..warning….disobedience…..consequences…..distress……mercy……rescue……warning….disobedience…..consequences…..distress……mercy……rescue……
Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hands of these raiders. Yet they would not listen to their judges but prostituted themselves to other gods and worshiped them. They quickly turned from the ways of their ancestors, who had been obedient to the Lord’s commands. Whenever the Lord raised up a judge for them, he was with the judge and saved them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived; for the Lord relented because of their groaning under those who oppressed and afflicted them. But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their ancestors, following other gods and serving and worshiping them. They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways. Judges 2:16-19
The Israelites lived among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. They took their daughters in marriage and gave their own daughters to their sons, and served their gods. Judges 3;5-6
This is why the people need judges. Wise individuals who can lead and inspire and challenge. We all need people like this in our lives. As I said yesterday, it’s so easy to get distracted by the world we’re living in – to get tempted and subtly pressurised to become someone different from the unique individual God created us to be…….we all need people in our lives who will lead us and inspire us and challenge us……
I’ve had a few of those over the years.
And that is why every day, I am going to introduce you to one of those people from my life (who has led me and inspired me and challenged me) alongside one of the judges….let’s see where that takes us! You can start thinking about people who have been that for you too!