“When the LORD raised up judges for them, the LORD was with the judge and delivered 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 oppressed and afflicted them.”
Judges 11 began a section where we have an increasingly details and forceful view of Israel’s faithlessness, despite being in the Promised Land and enjoying the blessings promised in the Old and Palestinian Covenants. Chapter 2:1 actually gives a fairly dramatic statement of the growth and increasing seriousness of Israel’s disobedience.
2 Then the Angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said: “I led you up from Egypt and brought you to the land of which I swore to your fathers; and I said, ‘I will never break My covenant with you. (Judges 2:1)
Verses 2-3 speaks clearly of the fact that they were forbidden to make any covenants with the people of the land, this following His statement there at the end of verse 1 that He “will never break My covenant” with them. The end of verse 2 introduces the first ominous tone to the discussion.
“…you have not obeyed My voice. Why have you done this? 3 Therefore I also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; but they shall be thorns in your side, and their gods shall be a snare to you.’ ””
It seems that the Israelites either did not realize or did not choose to observe the seriousness and reality of what God had told them. For some reason they thought that they would be “OK” in spite of their pursuing their own course in the land. Yet it is clear that the state in which we find them very soon after Joshua died (2:7-10) was one that was pretty much what God, via the Prophet had said would follow their disobedience.
We’re told a good bit about the general nature of Israel’s disobedience in verse 11ff.:
1. They did what the writer calls “evil” in a general sense (11a)
2. In connection with that, we’re told they “served the Baals” that had been worshipped by those who were in the land upon Israel’s entrance.
3. The writer tells us that they “forsook” the Lord God of their fathers, doing so in spite of all of the wonderful and powerful things that He had done for them in their exit from Egypt.
4. We’re also told that they “followed other gods from among the gods of the people who were all around them”.
5. We must note also that it was not just a matter of “following” these “other gods” which were the people’s gods in the land. We’re told that they were influenced to the extent that they worshipped (“bowed down to them) them instead of the Lord Who had done so much for them in addition to both warning them of the coming danger and then forbidding them so to do.
6. Yet another thing was that they in turn “…forsook the Lord” in the way and manner in which the worshipped. This is very significant as they allowed themselves to led to indulging in forms and processes that God found repugnant.
7. It was not simply that they gave themselves over to false worship, but that embraced and thus “served” Baal and the Ashtoreths, the “gods” of the land. A terrible offense to God.
8. We should also note that this is an example of people who call themselves God’s people accommodating and then conforming themselves to the manner and style of worshipping that the people around them use.
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