They Forgot the Lord

Chapter 2 is a picture of the whole book of Judges. One commentator described Judges as "Defeat and Deliverance."A very apt name for it! The Lord God was angry and hurt by His people as they forgot what He had done for them and then turned to other gods. But He never gave up on them. He delivered them time and time again. His grace is amazing and His love for His people endures forever! Israel should have risen to great heights as a nation. The Lord had supplied everything they needed to do that. They should have been an amazing testimony for God to their children, the nations around them, and to the world. This also would have been a forerunner of the Kingdom of God that would come to earth at the end of days. They failed miserably. Jesus and the Holy Spirit have raised us up to be an amazing testimony of God's grace and works in our families and the world around us too. Let us not fail Him! Let Him lead us and work in us as we live in the land He has brought each of us to.

2:1 The angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal. I will never break My covenant with you. This may have been the Lord Jesus.

2 I told you not to make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land and to smash their altars. But what is this you have done?

3 Therefore I will not drive them out before you. They shall become thorns and snares to you. Joshua 23:12,13. Even though this would cause much harm to His people for a very long time, the Lord had to keep His word. He would see and hear their suffering under these pagan nations.

4,5 The people lifted up their voices and wept. They were in sin and judgment was coming. Something to weep about! Bochim means weepers. They did offer sacrifices, but the judgment was still going to happen.

6,7 They went to their inheritance to possess the land. Joshua 21:45. Joshua and the people served the Lord for the rest of their lives. The Lord our God will never break His promises.1st Corinthians 1:20.

8,9 Joshua died at 110 years old. Quite a life! Why? He lived by great faith and obedience to the Lord. Was it easy? No. Was the Lord with Him and did He encourage him? Yes! Joshua 1:1-9. Read about all the battles in Joshua.

10 The next generation did not know the Lord. They did not even know the great and mighty miracles that the Lord had done for Israel. Wow! What happened? They stopped relying on the Lord in the prosperity He created for them. They did not teach their children the ways of the Lord or talk about His works. There was not much discipleship even though Joshua's generation saw and experienced the works of the Lord. This is hard to believe! This is a good lesson for us today.
They had faith from that experience. Where did they have that experience? In the great and terrible wilderness where the Lord God led them. How do we have our own faith today? We let Him lead us in whatever He has called us to. He does have a plan for your life. Are you being led by the Lord so you can see and experience Him working in your life? Do you have faith from experience, or do you have the faith of your parents or of your church? This is something so important that is missing in our churches today. Especially among the youth. Faith by experiencing the Holy Spirit and Jesus working in their lives. If they would experience answers to prayers, the Holy Spirit speaking to them in various ways, His guiding and leading them, they would keep the faith. The Lord wants to give all of us that faith. Let me ask you a question. Are you living by faith, or are you living in fear of letting go and following Him? The world is a scary place, it is a wilderness in many ways. But He will be with you. He will guide you and encourage you. Your faith will be stronger as you experience Him working in your life. This is true fulfillment.

11-13 They did evil IN THE SIGHT OF THE LORD and served the Baals. There were numerous gods and idols. Did they know the Lord could see what they were doing? Yes, so they worshipped Him in their own way, not His. They mixed it all together praising the Lord, but their hearts were far from Him. They forsook the Lord and bowed down to other gods. This is why the Lord told them to drive these people out of Canaan. Does the Lord know what He is talking about? Does He understand human nature? Better than us! Did He know this would happen to His people? Yes, but again, He cannot break His word. They had to learn the hard way. Baal and Astartes were both fertility gods. This included things of nature like rain and soil and crops. They also were sexual gods that had relations with each other. This led their followers to engage in immoral acts. Astartes may have been the god Artemis in the New Testament. Other idols, the Asherah poles, were female deities that were naked. There are demonic influences behind all these gods. All these idols and demons led to great sexual sins and to child sacrifice. Psalm 106:34-46. The Lord God did not lead and call His people into this paganism. They were to be a testimony for His faithfulness and His Laws.

14 Have you ever been angry with your children? The Lord's anger burned against Israel. He afflicted them. They were plundered. Their possessions were taken. He sold them into slavery to the ones they were supposed to drive out of Canaan. In Egypt, they cried unto God and He delivered them. They forgot all the ways and miracles that He did for them in the desert. Can you imagine how hurt He was? Was His holy heartbroken? I wonder how He feels about some of the things going on in the church today.

15 The hand of the Lord was against them for evil. Not good! The Lord God does not play games. Can you be successful if the Lord is against you? No. Deuteronomy 8:19,20.

16 The Lord raised up judges that delivered them. This was God's unfailing love and His amazing grace! The Lord does not completely abandon His people. Isaiah 65:2,3. Be very grateful for that and His grace towards us. Are you thankful? Is God good? Yes, He is!

17 They did not listen. Sin is so powerful. It can have such a stronghold on us. The flesh and its impulses never die. We need to stick together and encourage each other in this sinful world and all of its idolatry. This is one of the reasons for the fellowship of the saints. We praise and worship the Lord our God together. We read and study His Word together. This togetherness helps us to overcome the sin of the world and its hold on us.

18 The Lord was moved to pity for His people. They were still His children, no matter how rebellious they were. He raised up judges and did miracles through them to deliver them from their enemies. There were 13 judges that He used to rescue them. Have you fallen into a sin that has left you ashamed and where there is no way out? Call on the Lord Jesus. He desires to deliver you from the situation.

19 They did not abandon their practices or their stubborn ways.

20-22The anger of the Lord burned against Israel. I will no longer drive out the remaining nations. Again, the Lord will not break His word even though He would have to be angry and watch His people suffer. He would have to raise up one judge after another to deliver them from their sin and oppressors. Is He patient? Yes! He tested them in all these trials and tribulations. The Lord is always testing us too. How do we respond to His deliverance of us? How do we act day in and day out in all kinds of situations that in His sovereignty He brings our way? Are we passing the test or are we stubborn in our ways?

23 So the Lord allowed those nations to remain. Joshua 23:13.

                                                     THINGS TO CONSIDER

Is your life a testimony of Jesus and the Holy Spirit working in you and through you?

Are you struggling in the place that the Lord has led you to?

Are the idols of this world pulling you away from the Lord and His ways? He is there for you and always willing to help when we ask Him.

To those without the Lord: Is your life a mess right now? Is this sinful world constantly pulling you down? Do you feel like there is no way out? Turn to Jesus today! He does have pity on you in this crazy world that we live in. He can and will deliver you from all your idols if you trust Him and let Him lead you in all His ways.

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