Judges 2 Commentary
Why have you done this? The question was directed at Israel but I think the LORD is asking me the same question. Why have you broken faith? What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad?
And see the reaction of Israel! “There they offered sacrifices to the Lord.” Israel is so bad that she thinks of the LORD as one of the Canaanite gods to be appeased by sacrifices! Obedience is better than sacrifice.
“After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel.” You would think like you are reading about a Pharaoh who didn’t know Joseph. The result is the same: the enslavement of the glory of the LORD and the rise of idolatry. Christianity is always a See-saw. There is nothing like an innocent dip in spirituality. Godliness goes down as ungodliness goes up.
Never forget what the LORD has done for you. Command your memory to remember the goodness of the LORD. Forget not all His benefits, as the Psalmist David would put. Forgetfulness for Israel wasn’t an innocent act of ignorance but a deliberate decision to ignore the works of the LORD. The result is the withdrawal of the grace of the LORD. Israel is left to experience life without the benefit of grace. Defeat follows defeat. The nation is enslaved again and again.
Relief only comes when the LORD raises a Judge to deliver Israel. But it is all temporal. Israel would return to her sinful ways and the cycle of suffering would restart until the next Judge. The Book of Judges would follow this format of sin, Judge, salvation, and then sin again.
We can see something here. Just like in Egypt, Israel only remembers the LORD when suffering and pain become unbearable. At this point, they cry out to the LORD. At what point do we kneel down in prayer? Is it only when our suffering reaches unbearable levels or when the secret sin brings public shame to our respected self?
The trouble of calling upon the LORD only when in deep trouble is the high possibility of idolatry when the motivation for prayer is withdrawn. These pages are calling us to a life that feels the brokenness of sin and makes it the motivation to seek help in prayer and genuine repentance. However, it takes even a greater degree of arrogance to fail to pray when in deep physical trouble. If healing is the only motivation that you have to pray, as bad as it is, men are encouraged to go for it. How we should pray that the physical deliverances remind us of the need for spiritual deliverance! Then we can have hope even for the vanity seeker.
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