The book of Judges introduces us to a 410-year history of Old Testament culture that surrounds the people of Israel. Chapter after chapter I read what became a familiar and somewhat discouraging statement: “The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord.” I was thinking to myself, what is wrong with these people and why do they keep falling away from the Lord, when will they learn? Then I looked in the mirror and thought about the day and age that I am living in and had to ask myself a similar question, are we still doing this today?
During the time of the Judges there were multiple generations of people that lived within the ebb and flow of obedience to God’s law. Generations of families that passed on both the good and bad patterns of living in and around other cultures. Judges 2:12 tells us that the other people (cultures) around them heavily influenced the people of Israel, “they followed and worshiped various gods of the people around them”. The last part of verse 12 provides us with God’s response to their disobedience; it reads, “They aroused the Lord’s anger because they forsook him.” This anger resulted in God allowing them to suffer through turmoil, destruction and chaos. This brought them into a position of crying out to God for help resulting in the appointment a leader or judge that would help bring them back into the practices of His law.
We have to remember that all the stories of trials, temptations and restoration in Judges are real living examples of how life was for the Israelites. They are recorded for us so we can know the truth and reality of a loving and just God. In many ways today the diversity of cultures and people reflect the same dangers faced by the Israelites. We as Christ followers need to be continually pursuing a strong understanding of who our God is putting our faith and trust in Him. I am privileged and thankful that the generations that have passed down the living example of faith in Jesus Christ for my family and me. It is my prayer that I can continue to be bold and strong to continue that example for the next generation.