Whenever the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge. For the Lord was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them. But whenever the judge died, they turned back and were more corrupt than their fathers, going after other gods, serving them and bowing down to them. They did not drop any of their practices or their stubborn ways. Judges 2:18-19
During this period in Israel, God raised up judges. They were military leaders appointed and equipped by God to fight their enemies, unifying the people, and drawing them back to God.
And it would work, but only so long as the judge was alive. Once the judge died and the people were left to themselves, they slipped back into their old ways again. Even the character flaws of the judges grew worse over time.
The Israelites are in a repetitive cycle of disobedience, raising up a judge, turning back to God, times of peace, slipping back into disobedience, raising up a judge, turning back to God, times of peace…you get the picture. Over and over again. This goes on for a period of nearly 400 years and it is a dark and disturbing time for God’s people.
This period of history reminds us that left on our own, we will fall short of right living. We will muster enough faith and self-control for a time, but it will never last; we will turn back to sinful ways without help. But these stories are also a picture of God’s patience with us. He continues to send help. He desires for us to always come back to Him.
The Bible, with all of its preserved history and people, are all part of God’s plan to show us the right way to live, why we can’t do it on our own, why we need a Savior, and what that Savior will look like.
Challenge: Take time today to thank God for always forgiving you and always desiring you to come back to Him. Thank Him for Jesus and for always sending help when we ask Him for it.
Reference: Timeline of Judges