Sharing from the WORD
Judges 2 : Wrestling with God
“Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them. Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they whored after other gods and bowed down to them. They soon turned aside from the way in which their fathers had walked, who had obeyed the commandments of the Lord, and they did not do so. 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 2:16-19
Judges mainly discusses the disobedience and downfall of the Israelites after God delivered the Israelites and led them into the Promised Land. After Joshua, who brought Israelites into the Promised Land, died, the people were left leader-less. God again and again provides them a way out of this leader-less state, sending them Judah (Chapter 1, v1) to defeat Canaanites and an angel (v1) to rebuke Israelites of their sins… all to reveal that He is with them throughout this entire time. In verse 16, God decides to bring judges, political leaders, to save them out of this situation. God proves Himself to be a merciful and compassionate God who still wants to provide a way out of His wrath. God protected the people with each of their judges. But whenever their judge passed away and there was no judge, the people of Israel would turn away from Him and revert back to their old ways of sinning and worshipping other gods. In verse 19, it says the Israelites “did not drop any of their practices or their stubborn ways”. Same old, same old. The Israelites failed to recognize that their protection comes from the Lord.
Similarly, sometimes, we can be caught in the this spiritual rollercoaster of experiencing God being faithful in our lives and then forgetting about it afterwards. At the end, we feel like God is just really 'distant'. Especially at a retreat, we experience how God, being real and personal, has answered our prayers. But, the next day, when we go back home, we revert back to our worldly passions and regular routines. We forget about how God has redeemed us and spoken to us at the church retreat/service/chapel time. We remain unchanged.
God could rightfully take our lives away because of our sinful ways! He could rightfully judge us right now and here. But, He provided the Israelites with Joshua, Judah, and the judges. He displays mercy and grace and provides us a way through Jesus Christ. So that... through this, we could have a personal relationship with God. He demands us to wrestle with His holy standards and our incapabilities of fulfilling them (due to our sinfulness). Just like in any relationship, He wants honesty and vulnerability. In this case, He wants us to be honest with Him about our idolatry after ungodly things and repent. So, perhaps, when God seems distant to us (when He really isn't because He is omnipresent), it might be because our idolatry is hindering us from seeing what He truly wants for us: to be His holy nation. Therefore, let us repent of our sins and accept His forgiveness. Let our one and only desire be to become the holy people He has intended us to be.