Today’s Reading: Judges 8-9
Today’s Reflection: Judges 8:33-34
33) As soon as Gideon died, the people of Israel turned again and whored after the Baals and made Baal-berith their god. 34) And the people of Israel did not remember the Lord their God, who had delivered them from the hand of all their enemies on every side.
Israel had sinned by worshipping pagan idols so God allowed them to fall under the oppression of Midian. When they prayed to God, He raised up Gideon to judge them and rescue Israel from their enemies. But as soon as Gideon died, Israel forgot everything God had done for them and went back to worshiping pagan idols. It wasn’t the first time…
Judges 2:11-12 – 11) And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals. 12) And they abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed down to them. And they provoked the Lord to anger.
Judges 3:7 – And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. They forgot the Lord their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth.
Judges 3:12 – And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done what was evil in the sight of the Lord.
It wouldn’t be the last time either. And it’s no different for us now. We are born in sin and shaped in iniquity (Psalm 51:5), so it is our nature to rebel against the ways of God. Overcoming sin isn’t something we can do in our own power.
This is why we need a saviour.
Human judges, prophets, patriarchs and kings were raised up by God to rescue His people, and to model righteousness to them through their examples. As was the case with Gideon (and with Moses and Joshua before him) these figures pointed the way to God but this alone was not enough to change the hearts of the children of Israel. As soon as the example was gone, most of them returned to their sins as though God hadn’t done anything for them.
Jesus Christ lived to show us how to obey God, He died to pay the penalty for our sins, but most importantly He rose from death to break the power of sin and death over mankind. His resurrection made it possible for us to be spiritually reborn, to become new creatures free from slavery to sin, to become men and women who truly desire harmony with God and are capable of obeying Him.
Trying to do life on your own, in your own strength, will only lead to you eventually worshiping at the feet of idols again and again and again. The only path to abundant life is through the free gift of grace offered by Jesus Christ the righteous.
2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.