The Testing of Israel (Judges 2)

PrayingHands2a

As we discussed yesterday, the author of the Book of Judges uses the first chapter to set up the historical context of the rest of the book. In the second chapter, the author does something similar. Rather than discuss historical events, he begins to set up the cycle that is about to take place within the book.

After having failed to completely take over the Promised Land, God spoke to the Israelites and said, “I brought you out of Egypt into this land that I swore to give your ancestors, and I said I would never break my covenant with you. for your part, you were not to make any covenants with the people living in this land; instead, you were to destroy their altars. But you disobeyed my command. Why did you do this? So now I declare that I will no longer drive out the people living in your land. They will be thorns in your sides, and their gods will be a constant temptation to you.” (2:1-3, NLT). God recognized that His people had made agreements with the people who were already living in the Promised Land. They allowed the people to continue on living in their pagan ways, and God knew this would be a stumbling block for His people.

Aren’t we stuck in this same position today? The Bible is fairly clear on how we are to live our lives, but there is a world around us that tempt us to believe differently. The world tells us to become super rich, while the Bible tells us to use all that we have and give it away to the glory of God. The world tells us that we must look out for #1, while the Bible tells us to love and care for each other. The world tells us that we cannot tell someone they are wrong, the Bible tells us that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. The list goes on and on.

I believe that we live in a world that is full of other “gods” tempting us to give our lives to their pursuit. God wants us to follow Him and no one else, it’s even the first Commandment! So we must choose, daily, to follow God and not the ways of the world. It’s tough. The world makes a very convincing argument. Even to the point that some strong Christians I know begin to question their faith because it stands contrary to the Bible. It get scary to tell people they are in the wrong when, without the Bible, you might take the same stance.

I will close this post with a psalm that is well-known and is read often. But it speaks well of following God because He knows what is best for us. He will care for us. We don’t know what is best, but He does.

“The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
–Psalm 23, NASB

Also in this series

 

Psalms to Pray: Psalm 39-41

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