A devotional thought from Lizette Beard for “The Trinity”
Judges 2:11-12: “The Israelites did what was evil in the LORD’s sight. They worshiped the Baals and abandoned the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of Egypt. They went after other gods from the surrounding peoples and bowed down to them. They infuriated the LORD.”
The Book of Judges reads like a bad reality TV show filled with rebellion and selfishness. During this time, the Israelites refused to obey God and rid the land of the Canaanites (Judg. 1), which, of course, set themselves up to be tempted by the pagan idolatry of these neighbors.
In Judges 2, God told the Israelites that despite His faithfulness in bringing them out of Egypt and leading them to the promised land, they had disobeyed Him. Instead of rescuing them, God told them they would experience the consequences.
The Israelites were not able to resist worshiping Baal, the fertility god of the Canaanites. The lure of the cult prostitutes at the Baal shrines and the promise of agricultural prosperity proved to be more compelling for the Israelites than their covenant relationship with God. And the cycle continues throughout the Book of Judges: Israel worships false gods, breaks the covenant, provokes God to anger, God hands Israel over to her enemies, Israel cries out, God raises up a deliverer (a “judge”). All would be well until Israel forgot the lesson and began the whole cycle over again.
Pause and Reflect
• What can the Israelites teach us about the dangers of “just following your heart”?
• Read Psalm 69. What does David recognize about the character of God that the Israelites failed to see during the time of the judges?
• In your own life, what are the idols and temptations that regularly distract you from God? Do you recognize the pattern found in the Book of Judges in your own life?