March 30: Judges 1-2
1 Now the angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bochim. And he said, “I brought you up from Egypt and brought you into the land that I swore to give to your fathers. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you, 2 and you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall break down their altars.’ But you have not obeyed my voice. What is this you have done? 3 So now I say, I will not drive them out before you, but they shall become thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare to you.”
6 When Joshua dismissed the people, the people of Israel went each to his inheritance to take possession of the land. 7 And the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great work that the Lord had done for Israel. . . . And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel.
Joshua 2:1-3, 6-7, & 10b, English Standard Version
The Israelites finally possessed the promised land, all of their enemies were defeated, and they all lived happily ever after. Right? The Bible is no fairy tale! The first chapter of Judges ends with some very somber verses:
*27 Manasseh did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shean and its villages, or Taanach and its villages, or the inhabitants of Dor and its villages, or the inhabitants of Ibleam and its villages, or the inhabitants of Megiddo and its villages.
*29 And Ephraim did not drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer.
*30 Zebulun did not drive out the inhabitants of Kitron, or the inhabitants of Nahalol.
*31 Asher did not drive out the inhabitants of Acco, or the inhabitants of Sidon or of Ahlab or of Achzib or of Helbah or of Aphik or of Rehob.
*33 Naphtali did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh, or the inhabitants of Beth-anath.
As we traverse through the book of Judges we will find a cycle that is still being repeated in our day. God's people rise up and faithfully serve Him, they are corrupted by the gods of the world around them, they forsake God, God removes His hand of protection from them, they cry out to God for salvation, He saves them, and they rise up and faithfully serve Him.
Just look around you at the church as it exists in our world today. We see churches in every stage of the Judges Cycle. New baby churches spring up daily with new converts who are zealous and faithful to the Lord; as the church grows, the things of the world gradually seep in among the congregation. Either the entire church forsakes belief in God and the inerrancy of the Scriptures, or the church is split, etc.
One of the things we are afraid to say today, is that God uses the forces of nature, as well as other means to bring judgment upon a people who have once loved Him, but have now forsaken Him. That statement is just not politically correct, is it? But, is it true? God is a jealous God; He does not accept His children defiling themselves with the gods of the world around them.
Remember that, dear Christian; pray that God would help you to not flirt with the ways of the world, believing it will have no negative effect on your Christian life. Pray that God would be gracious to you so that you and your family will not become a part of the Judges Cycle.
God Bless You,