The Lord Rescues His People
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.
20 So the Lord burned with anger against Israel. He said, “Because these people have violated my covenant, which I made with their ancestors, and have ignored my commands, 21 I will no longer drive out the nations that Joshua left unconquered when he died. 22 I did this to test Israel—to see whether or not they would follow the ways of the Lord as their ancestors did.” 23 That is why the Lord left those nations in place. He did not quickly drive them out or allow Joshua to conquer them all.
According to Judges Chapter 1, Israel is suffering a moral downfall; people are doing what seems right in their own eyes. Before his death, Joshua kept Israel focused on God, but the people failed to grasp it was never about Joshua it was really God in command. Israel’s disobedience has led them to rebel against God causing them to be overrun by enemy nations.
During this time, Israel experiences no unity in government and no unity in worship. Law and order has broken down and idolatry has caused people to abandon their faith in God. Canaanite pagan worship has been able to lure God’s people away from their devotion to Yahweh, because according to this idolatrous religion, they can remain selfish and immoral and yet fulfill their religious requirements. God never leads us to focus on the benefits of our sinful human nature. In fact, we are to lay our lives down, so we can pick up the life of Christ. Be like Joshua and keep your eyes focused on God, because he is really the One in command; He is the true Judge of human hearts.
Prayer: Lord, may we as your children turn to love you wholeheartedly. In Jesus’ name. Amen.