Day Seventy-Six, Judges 2-3
As we begin the book of Judges with today’s reading, we see, yet again, that the Israelites are a people with a very short memory span. They are a forgetful people that seemingly only a generation later, have turned away from the Lord to serve other gods. Because of this the Lord punishes them, as they are oppressed by the nations around them.
Thus begins an ugly cycle for the Israelites, a period that lasts a few hundred years, where they go back-and-forth between obeying the Lord and serving other gods. When they serve other gods, the Lord allows them to be oppressed by the people around them. They cry out to the Lord in their oppression, and in His loving mercy, He hears them. He raises up a leader for them, who is able to deliver them from their enemies. That leader serves the nation of Israel for a time, and after that leader’s death, the Israelites seem to forget that the Lord had delivered them. So they slip back into worshiping other gods. And when they serve other gods, the Lord allows them to be oppressed…
It’s a vicious cycle, and, though it makes for some really interesting, narrative-style reading, it is really kind of a depressing time in Israel’s history, if you ask me. A couple of times through the book of Judges, you’ll find this verse, “In those days Israel had to king; everyone did as he saw fit.”
Can you imagine what the world would be like today if, rather than serving the Lord and obeying Him, EVERYONE did as they saw fit???