This page is a daily devotion. It will study a chapter of the Bible for 5 days one section at a time. Then it will move on to another chapter for 5 days. Included is a verse to memorize.
Judges chapter 2
Memory verse: Judges 2:16
After the death of Joshua, Israel went on a spiritual roller coaster. They would backslide. They would fall into the hands of the enemy who would oppress them. They would cry out to God, who would send them a deliverer, also known as a judge. After the death of the judge, the cycle would repeat. There were 14 judges between Joshua and the first king, Saul.
Day 1 – evil communications corrupt good manners (1Corinthians 15:33)
The slippery slope Moses warned them of had already started in the days of Joshua (Exodus 23:32-33, Exodus 34:11-16, Deuteronomy 7:16). They were already making league with the people they were to dispossess, and were not throwing down their altars. God sent an angel to tell them He would no longer drive the nations out. When they heard the voice of the angel, they wept and offered a sacrifice. God did not want them to weep and offer a sacrifice. He wanted them to obey His commandment (1Samuel 15:22). They never did finish the job and completely remove the idolators and their idols from the land. As God foretold, this was the cause of the pattern of continued failure throughout the book of Judges. When we allow improper associations in our lives, we are leaving the door open to sin like Cain (Genesis 4:7). We are not to be isolated from the world, but we are to be separated. This is what Jesus did (Matthew 11:19, Hebrews 7:26). We must evaluate every relationship with those who do not follow truth, and be aware of who is influencing who. Unfinished business with sin needs to be settled once and for all. Close the door, lock it, and throw away the key. King Jeroboam backslid, and began worshipping idols in the high places (1Kings 12:31-32). This sin spread throughout Judah as well (1Kings 14:23). There were 6 good kings of Judah who failed to deal with this (Asa – 1Kings 15:14, Jehopshaphat – 1Kings 22:43, Joash – 2Kings 12:3, Amaziah – 2Kings 14:4, Uzziah – 2Kings 15:4, Jotham – 2Kings 15:35). There were 2 kings who did (Hezekiah – 2Kings 18:4, Josiah – 2Kings 23:5-20). However, the high places were rebuilt after they were gone (2Kings 21:3). This led among other things to the final fall of the kingdom. Israel never regained its full strength, even after the return from exile. No one and no thing is worth missing eternal life for.
Day 2 – leadership lost
Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and the days of the elders that outlived him. When they were gone, nobody took their place. Between each judge there was no leadership, and Israel backslid. After Samson, there was a gap before Samuel in which there was no leadership, and spiritual chaos ensued (Judges 17:6, Judges 18:1, Judges 19:1, Judges 21:25). Ultimately, God is our leader; but He has always ordained that there are to be leaders among men. He will raise up a Noah, an Abraham, a Moses, a David, apostles, pastors, etc. God laments a lack of leadership (Isaiah 51:18, Isaiah 59:16, Ezekiel 22:30). “O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps (Jeremiah 10:23).” Leadership is a gift from God (Ephesians 4:8-14). Submission to authority provides a covering of protection (Isaiah 30:1, 1Corinthians 11:15). If a spiritual leader is not doing his job, he is accountable to God who will deal with it (1Samuel 24 and 26). Our job mostly is to stay in our place, and pray. We are also to give proper respect to civil authorities who are also ordained of God (Romans 13:1-7). This does not make Christians doormats to evil, but we need wisdom from God on what He expects from us (James 1:2-6, James 3:13-18).
Day 3 – the third generation
There was the generation of Moses. Then there was the generation of Joshua. Then came the generation after Joshua. They had not seen the miracles in Egypt or the wilderness. They had not fought the battles in Canaan to take the promised land. They had no leadership. They had no experiences with God. They had not been through anything. They did not finish ridding the land of the idolators and their idols that their parents left. They seemed to have no purpose or cause. They seemed to have nothing to do for the kingdom. They did have all these things, but they did not find them and embrace them. They let go of everything that had been handed to them, and backslid. They worshipped the idols of the other nations. God fulfilled His word, and delivered them into the hand of their enemies. They were to be the first generation to enjoy the fruits of the last two, and take the kingdom further, but instead they were greatly distressed. The church is only one generation away from extinction. The church is not designed like Israel, who mostly was supposed to pass its torch to its biological children each generation. The church is to have spiritual and literal children. However, statistics show that 80% of apostolic youth walk away when they are old enough. This is one of the biggest crises facing the church. There is an entire generation of young people out there in the world. The youth should be taking the church to the next level, building on what has been handed to them. The church needs to address the issues facing our young people – increased public acceptance of sin, a perception that the church is no longer relevant, evolution and atheism, and increased animosity towards God. This generation has a great opportunity. Let us pray and work to make sure it is fulfilled.
Day 4 – the vicious cycle
We do not have to accept the cycle of failure. We do not have to fall into the same behaviors of generations before us. Abraham came from a family of idolators (Joshua 24:2). Korah rebelled against Moses, and was destroyed (Numbers 16). However, his sons chose not to perish with him (Numbers 26:10-11). David appointed their descendants to be overseers and keepers of the tabernacle (1Chronicles 9:19). David wrote 11 psalms for them to perform in worship to God. Rahab and Ruth overcame their backgrounds to bcome part of the people of God, and both are in the lineage of Jesus (Matthew 1:5). 4 kings of Judah overcame having bad fathers (1Ki 15:8-11 – Asa, 2Chr 24:1-2 – Joash, 2Chr 28:27 – Hezekiah, 2Chr 33:20-25 – Josiah). We do not have to keep failing in the same areas over and over. God wants us to help us break it, overcome it, and establish a new pattern of righteousness for ourselves, and those we influence.
Day 5 – the nations left
Because the Israelites did not eliminate the idolatrous people from their midst, God no longer gave them victory over them. God decided to use them to prove His people. Since they did not demonstrate the will to do completely what God had commanded them initially, God gave them a test to see if they were going to keep His commandments or not. God had already said He would not drive them out all at once (Exodus 23:27-33, Deuteronomy 7:16-26), but He did not intend for it to take several generations. Sometimes we question why God leaves certain battles in our lives when He gives us victory in other areas. It could be because we were not aggressive enough to eliminate those things, and now God is leaving them there to test us, and see if we will do the right thing or not. Also, it can be dangerous to not have any battles. We get soft and lazy. Sometimes it is better to have a few struggles to keep us on our toes. David fell when he stayed home when kings go out to battle (2Samuel 11:1-4). When astronauts spend extended time in space, it is essential that they exercise. There is no gravity for their muscles to work against, and they will get weak and atrophy without resistance. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7, 1Peter 5:8-9).