And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this? — Judges 2:2
My husband was a very wholehearted Christian as a young boy. He was not ashamed to tell people about Jesus and even went door-to-door to pass out invitations for special meetings at church. He loved the Lord with all his heart and his greatest happiness was to spend time with the people of God.
As my husband grew into his teen-age years, he began to notice some of the worldly attractions around him from which he had been sheltered in his younger years. Unfortunately, about this same time his faithfulness in daily devotions began to wane. As his spiritual vision dimmed, the things of the world began to appear brighter.
Soon he started to get involved in some activities that had suggestions of immorality. As much as he tried to justify his actions, he knew down in his heart he was doing wrong. Suddenly, his attitude became defensive and argumentative and a big wall grew between him and his family, his Christian friends, and God. What had started as a seemingly small attention to a worldly activity became a divide that separated him from the Lord. Thankfully, not too much later, as a miserable young man, my husband repented and experienced anew the joys of salvation.
We live in a sinful world and many of us have to work among people who act, talk, and live in sinful ways. Billboards, the media, and modern life often offer temptations that could distract a Christian from his path. Yet, just as God allowed the heathen to remain in some proximity to Israel to test them, He allows us to be tested in the same way. He has told us that with the temptation, He will provide a way to escape or overcome it. As we overcome, we become stronger and more grounded in our faith.
Although temptations are ever present, God warned Israel not to make leagues with evil people, and He warns us to avoid temptations and to keep our eyes focused upon Him. We keep this focus by meeting with God daily in prayer, studying His Word, and meditating on His promises. One hymn writer, Helen Howarth Lemmel, put it this way: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face; And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace.”
The setting is Canaan, the Holy Land. The Israelites had won some victories but had failed to destroy all of the Canaanites, as God had commanded. This chapter begins with an Angel of the Lord coming up from Gilgal and reproving Israel for their ingratitude to God and for failing to drive out the Canaanites.
This chapter goes on to tell of the death of Joshua and how the generation that followed did evil in God’s sight and rejected Him in order to serve Baalim, Ashtaroth, and other false gods. Baalim or Baal and Ashtaroth or Astarte were worshipped in other countries under the names of Juno and Venus. These gods were very immoral and abominable and they defiled every city where they were worshipped.
The theme of the whole Book of Judges is contained in today’s chapter. God promised to bless Israel if the people would obey and honor Him, but He would turn against them and allow them to be taken over by oppressors if they turned aside from His way. It tells how the people served God for a time when they had a faithful leader, and then when that judge died, Israel fell back into sin until the oppressors would overtake them again. Then, because of the groanings and cries of the people, God would raise up another judge to deliver them. It was a cycle that occurred repeatedly.
The lesson we can learn from this text is that God does not condone sin. He has wonderful promises for those who obey Him and judgment for those who do not. At the end of the chapter, we see that God used the heathen nations that remained in Canaan to prove Israel, to see if they would be true to Him or if they would succumb to the evil ways of these nations.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
I. Conditions before the period of the judges
B. Religious conditions: broken covenant (2:1-5)
II. Conditions during the period of the judges
A. Introduction: the religious character of the period
1. The character of the era under Joshua and the elders (2:6-10)
2. The character of the era under the judges
a. The idolatry (2:11-13)
b. The bondage (2:14-15)
c. The deliverance (2:16-18)
d. The repetition (2:19)
e. The result
(1) The test (2:20-23)
Let us remember to keep our vision focused on God and not let the worldly things around us entice us. We will then enjoy all the blessings of God’s wonderful covenant to us!