Focal Passages: Judges 2:11-22
In chapter 1, you learn the political and social compromises the children of Israel had made with the Canaanites. They failed to conquer the land as God had commanded them. Fighting the Canaanites turned into fearing and following them. In chapter 2, you learn the spiritual background for those compromises.
In the opening verses (1-3), the Angel of the Lord confronts the children of Israel’s unfaithfulness with His faithfulness. Many Bible scholars believe this is a preincarnate appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ, otherwise referred to as a theophany.
The Angel of the Lord reminds them of their redemption. Throughout Scripture, God emphasizes the importance of remembering what He has done. The reason many Christians compromise with their culture is because they’ve failed to remember what God has done for them.
He also reminds them of the consequences of sin. You must not forget that sin will take you further than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay and cost you more than you want to pay. Revival will never come to our churches if God’s people do not get serious about getting rid of sin.
In verses 6 through 19, there is a repetition that occurs and is found all the way through the book of Judges. There are four steps to the sin cycle that bring the nation of Israel to the point of spiritual apostasy and compromise with the culture: rebellion, retribution, repentance and restoration.
The children of Israel followed Baal and the Ashtoreths. Baal was the god of harvest. The Canaanites believed he caused the crops to be productive. Ashtoreth was the female counterpart. She was the goddess of fertility. The children of Israel forsook the Lord and served those two gods.
When you study the Old Testament, you learn their religious worship was filled with the occult, homosexuality, prostitution, bestiality and even offering children as human sacrifices on pagan altars. It got so bad that God declared the land defiled (Leviticus 18:25).
Yet the people, who knew the pure and holy God that had redeemed them, found themselves totally compromised and worshiping gods of their culture. Today’s churches are filled with many compromising Christians who are no longer worshiping the Lord, but the gods of our pagan culture.
Beginning in verse 20, God explains that He left those nations in the land to test Israel. Sometimes God allows things to come into your life as a test. C. S. Lewis wrote, “God whispers in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains.”
Is it possible that the pain and misery we are experiencing in America is God’s megaphone to arouse a deaf nation? Is there any hope? In verse 16, we discover the children of Israel had hope because God raised up judges. Our nation has hope because God sent Jesus (Matthew 1:21). We must sincerely repent of our sin and wholly follow the Lord Jesus Christ.
General Douglas McArthur, supreme commander of the Allied Forces in the Pacific during World War II said, “In this day of gathering storms, as moral deterioration of political power spreads its growing infection, it is essential that every spiritual force be mobilized to defend and preserve the religious base upon which this nation is founded; for it has been that base which has been the motivating impulse to our moral and national growth. History fails to record a single precedent in which nations subject to moral decay have not passed into political and economic decline. There has been either a spiritual reawakening to overcome the moral lapse, or a progressive deterioration leading to ultimate national disaster.”
— Lancaster is senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Rockwood.