God’s grace, the judges
Scripture: Judges 2:13-23
Aim: To instruct the student in the importance of obedience to the Lord, and that disobedience will bring the Lord’s judgment upon His people.
Golden Text: “And when the Lord raised them up judges, then the Lord was with the judge and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge. … And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them” (Judges 2:18a, 19a).
The pattern that Israel followed throughout the 300 years of the judges was repeated over and over again. Israel sinned grievously against God, Israel was brought under servitude and the heel of an enemy nation, under the awful servitude and subjection Israel turned and cried unto the Lord.
The result was that God delivered them. This cycle is repeated over and over. Were it not for the fact that God is gracious to His people, He would have destroyed Israel for their sins.
The same truth exists regarding us today. Were it not for God’s mercy, we would all be grievously judged and punished.
Today we must not presume upon God. To take Him and His mercy for granted is a dangerous place to be. It is the anti-room of chastisement and judgment. Persistence in sin will result in persistence in God’s judgment upon His people. Israel is our clear example.
1. Israel forsook the Lord to follow and worship Baalim, the gods of the Canaanites (Judges 2:11-12). Israel followed these pagan gods along with the ungodly people of Canaan. They bowed themselves in worship to these gods (vs. 12). One of the items that Israel loved was the sexual activities, which were engaged upon as a matter of part of the worship. This was directly opposed not only to requirement to worship only Jehovah, but also the code of conduct that God required of His people. God does require that His people be clean and pure from evil doings.
2. Israel not only worshipped Baal, she also “served” Baal (Judges 2:13). This points to the definite devotion that was given to the worship and service of Baal. Now, this is the great sin of Israel. They bowed down to worship pagan gods, and they did service to the pagan gods in the name of Jehovah God!
Such sinful action always requires judgment and purification. God will not let His name be associated with the false pagan gods, which are not gods at all, except in the imagination of sinful man.
3. In anger Jehovah delivered Israel into the hand of the enemies around them (Judges 2:14, 15). Jehovah gave the enemy victory over Israel to the point that the Israelites became servant to the conquerors. Where ever the Israelites went, the hand of the Lord was against them. He caused Israel great distress because of their sins (vs. 15). The most awful things was that the Lord’s hand was against Israel (vs. 15). What an awful place to be! In such a case quick repentance and return is the only way to gain relief.
4. The Lord raised up judges over Israel because they turned back to God and cried unto Him for deliverance (Judges 12:16). God hears the cry of repentance.
Israel repeated the process over and over until finally they were removed from the land. Reader, the lesson is clear. Sin and rebellion to God must be repented of.
Do you need to repent of some sin?
God is waiting to hear your cry of repentance. When you genuinely call upon the Lord, He will save you, or cleanse you from sins, whichever you may need.
God wants to bless you just as He wanted to bless Israel. The blessing depends upon personal cooperation by repentance and faith.
May God grant us repentance and blessing today is our prayer!
Howard Tillery is the pastor of New Ochlocknee Baptist Church in Grady County. He lives in Cairo.