Judges 2:1

 

 

The Bible says in Judges 2:1-5, “And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you.[2] And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this?[3] Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.[4] And it came to pass, when the angel of the LORD spake these words unto all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voice, and wept.[5] And they called the name of that place Bochim: and they sacrificed there unto the LORD.” In verse one there is a statement that is important to understand. God said, “I will never break my covenant with you.” God kept His Word. He did not break the old covenant with the Israelites. They broke it. It was a two-sided covenant like most contracts. Each party had something to fulfill. God fulfilled His part, but the Israelites did not fulfill theirs. And so verse two says, “but ye have not obeyed my voice.” That is why God gave a new covenant. The new covenant did not work because man was too sinful and could not keep his part of the agreement: obeying all the commandments. Thankfully for all of us, God got rid of the Old Covenant and replaced it with the New Covenant. What makes the new covenant work so well is that there are no requirements for man. Jesus paid it all and Jesus did it all. Jesus lived the perfect life. We have not. Jesus was punished and died on the cross for our sins, and thus we do not get punished. Once we trust (believe) in Him, we enter into the new covenant. We are told in the New Testament, “Ye are not under law.” And we are told in John 1:17, “The law came by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” The law is the Old Covenant. Once you enter the New Covenant, it will never be broken. God will mot break it because He never breaks a covenant. And we will not break it either because e cannot: there is nothing for us to break.

 

The Bible says in Judges 2:6-12, “And when Joshua had let the people go, the children of Israel went every man unto his inheritance to possess the land.[7] And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD, that he did for Israel.[8] And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old.[9] And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in the mount of Ephraim, on the north side of the hill Gaash.[10] And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.[11] And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim:[12] And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger.” These verses and the ones following it are an outline of what happened to Israel and why after the death of Joshua. Part of the problem is stated in verse ten: after the death of Joshua and his contemporaries, a new generation came into power as happens everywhere. But the new generation “knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.” Knowing the Lord speaks of having a personal relationship with Him. Because they did not know the Lord, they “did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim.” We must repent of our sins and turn to the Lord for forgiveness Jesus is very merciful, but if we do not turn to Him, He must judge and He will judge. It says in verse twelve that because the Israelites continued in their sins that they “provoked the LORD to anger.”

 

The Bible says in Judges 2:13-19, “And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.[14] And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies.[15] Whithersoever they went out, the hand of the LORD was against them for evil, as the LORD had said, and as the LORD had sworn unto them: and they were greatly distressed.[16] Nevertheless the LORD raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them.[17] And yet they would not hearken unto their judges, but they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them: they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments of the LORD; but they did not so.[18] And when the LORD raised them up judges, then the LORD was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the LORD because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them.[19] And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way.” In my opinion these spiritual weaknesses of the Israelites are very much like many Christians in these last days in which we live: weakness, lack of commitment, falling away, failure, sin. One might say that the judges were spiritual giants and were exceptional believers. But the truth is that every believer could become just as strong as the judges were. There are no excuses. Every believer has the presence of Christ, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the Word of God and all of its promises. If you are not among the strongest of believers, then why not? Fix it.  

 

The Bible says in Judges 2:20-23, “And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel; and he said, Because that this people hath transgressed my covenant which I commanded their fathers, and have not hearkened unto my voice;[21] I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died:[22] That through them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of the LORD to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not.[23] Therefore the LORD left those nations, without driving them out hastily; neither delivered he them into the hand of Joshua.” In verse twenty once again we see the great difference between the Old Testament (the old covenant) and the New Testament (the new covenant.) The anger of the Lord was against Israel because God said, “this people hath transgressed my covenant.” The Old covenant of the law had human responsibilities to it, and the Israelites failed to uphold their side of the law. God always held up His side, but the people failed. The new covenant is so much better for us because the new covenant only has one side to it. God always keeps His side because he is God, but once we enter into the new covenant through faith in Christ, there is nothing for us to do except enjoy the benefits of the covenant. The anger of God fell on Jesus at the cross. And because of that the anger will never fall on any of the saved souls. Thank God for Calvary. Thank God for the New Testament in Jesus’ blood.

 

Notice in the above verses in Joshua how God in effect changed His plans according to the decisions and the failures of the children of Israel. Originally, God wanted the children of Israel to defeat all of the heathen and chase them out of the land of Canaan. But once it became apparent that the Israelites were neve going to obey God or do His will in this regard, God adjusted what all of that would mean. God gives a free choice to man. God establishes the choices that man makes. And then God causes the choices of man to be a part of God’s manifestation of God’s glory. God wanted the situation of the heathen people to bring glory to His name. The heathen people would have brought glory to His name by the heathen being cast out of the Promised Land. But since they were not cast out, they brought glory to His name by remaining in the Promised Land. And so in verse twenty-two the Lord tells what the heathen will be used for now that the heathen are going to remain in the land, “That through them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of the LORD to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not.” The Israelites still had a chance to serve God. Nothing changed that. They could still have victories, and they could still have blessings, and they could still have a close relationship with the Lord.

 

The Bible says in Judges 3:1-6, “Now these are the nations which the LORD left, to prove Israel by them, even as many of Israel as had not known all the wars of Canaan;[2] Only that the generations of the children of Israel might know, to teach them war, at the least such as before knew nothing thereof;[3] Namely, five lords of the Philistines, and all the Canaanites, and the Sidonians, and the Hivites that dwelt in mount Lebanon, from mount Baal-hermon unto the entering in of Hamath.[4] And they were to prove Israel by them, to know whether they would hearken unto the commandments of the LORD, which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.[5] And the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, Hittites, and Amorites, and Perizzites, and Hivites, and Jebusites:
[6] And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods
.” Verse six tells us why being mixed in with the heathen caused the Israelites so much trouble. First, they inter-married with them. This is a violation of one of the most important practical principles of scripture. Believers should not marry unbelievers. If you believe in Jesus and you are single, as you pray and look for a potential mate, your first priority must be to find someone who believes in Jesus, loves Jesus, and follows Jesus. Anything less may very well be a disaster for you. The Biblical principle is very clear in Second Corinthians 6:14, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”

 

Another bad thing that happened to the Israelites because the heathen lived among them is that the Israelites adopted the false religious beliefs of the heathen and stopped serving the LORD God. It says at the end of verse six that they “served their gods.” This should be a warning to all of us because the heathen live all around us too. Our goal is to be a witness for Christ and a good example to the unbelievers. We must not join in with them in any of their ungodly activities or ideas. This means we must avoid wild parties, drugs, alcohol, many Hollywood movies and anything else that dishonors God and Christ. It says in First John 2:15-17, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.[16] For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.[17] And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”

 

 

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Copyright; 2019 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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