Today we are continuing our deeper look at Judges 2: 11-23. This is our last week looking at the heroes of faith, and Hebrews 11 tells us that the judges are true heroes. Tomorrow we’ll look at some of the judges specifically, but first, we wanted to set the scene of what is happening. Today we’ll look at the world of the text of this passage.
As I looked at the Hebrew of some of this passage, several interesting things jumped out to me. First, in verse 12 it says that they worshiped these other, false gods. The verb there in Hebrew for worship is not what we would necessarily associate with worship in our context, a better word for us to think about is serve. The Israelites served the false gods. They would offer up sacrifices. They would do their bidding. They would allow these false gods to shape the way that they lived their lives. They gave up their freedom and their choice to false gods. Think of how far God goes to respect our freedom, yet here the Israelites wiling gave up that very thing.
Because of this, we see in the passage that God punished the people. Scripture tells us that just like a parent will discipline their children for their children to grow, God will discipline us in the same way. God’s point that he wants us to grow and to improve. We see this in this passage, where it says that God tests the people, it can also be understood as “refines” the people. This testing will prove their medal. Sometimes it is there, often time it is not. But God is wanting the people to grown.
We see that God does not just bring testing, he brings freedom. He brings judges who will come and led the people to freedom. As frustrated and angry as God is by the people, above all He loves them. He wants them to know freedom and truth. He desires life for them, above all else. Yes, He brings punishment and testing, but He also brings freedom.
The people, however, keep falling into sin. They keep returning to the old ways. They keep cycling back. This is their pattern. And if we are going to honest, it is for us as well.
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