Gracefully Truthful

Digging Deeper,God,Judges,Love,Promises,Relentless

Discover the original intent of Scripture. Make good application to our everyday lives.
Become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Read His Words Before Ours!

Judges 2:1-23

The angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bochim and said, “I brought you out of Egypt and led you into the land I had promised to your fathers. I also said: I will never break my covenant with you. 2 You are not to make a covenant with the inhabitants of this land. You are to tear down their altars. But you have not obeyed me. What is this you have done? 3 Therefore, I now say: I will not drive out these people before you. They will be thorns in your sides, and their gods will be a trap for you.” 4 When the angel of the Lord had spoken these words to all the Israelites, the people wept loudly. 5 So they named that place Bochim and offered sacrifices there to the Lord.

6 Previously, when Joshua had sent the people away, the Israelites had gone to take possession of the land, each to his own inheritance. 7 The people worshiped the Lord throughout Joshua’s lifetime and during the lifetimes of the elders who outlived Joshua. They had seen all the Lord’s great works he had done for Israel.

8 Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of 110. 9 They buried him in the territory of his inheritance, in Timnath-heres, in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash. 10 That whole generation was also gathered to their ancestors. After them another generation rose up who did not know the Lord or the works he had done for Israel.

11 The Israelites did what was evil in the Lord’s sight. They worshiped the Baals 12 and abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed other gods from the surrounding peoples and bowed down to them. They angered the Lord, 13 for they abandoned him and worshiped Baal and the Ashtoreths.

14 The Lord’s anger burned against Israel, and he handed them over to marauders who raided them. He sold them to the enemies around them, and they could no longer resist their enemies. 15 Whenever the Israelites went out, the Lord was against them and brought disaster on them, just as he had promised and sworn to them. So they suffered greatly.

16 The Lord raised up judges, who saved them from the power of their marauders, 17 but they did not listen to their judges. Instead, they prostituted themselves with other gods, bowing down to them. They quickly turned from the way of their fathers, who had walked in obedience to the Lord’s commands. They did not do as their fathers did. 18 Whenever the Lord raised up a judge for the Israelites, the Lord was with him and saved the people from the power of their enemies while the judge was still alive. The Lord was moved to pity whenever they groaned because of those who were oppressing and afflicting them. 19 Whenever the judge died, the Israelites would act even more corruptly than their fathers, following other gods to serve them and bow in worship to them. They did not turn from their evil practices or their obstinate ways.

20 The Lord’s anger burned against Israel, and he declared, “Because this nation has violated my covenant that I made with their fathers and disobeyed me, 21 I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations Joshua left when he died. 22 I did this to test Israel and to see whether or not they would keep the Lord’s way by walking in it, as their fathers had.” 23 The Lord left these nations and did not drive them out immediately. He did not hand them over to Joshua.

The Original Intent

1) Who is this angel of the Lord and why would he bring such bad news to Israel, God’s chosen people? (verses 1-5)

The phrase “angel of the Lord” is used to refer not to a created angel, but rather God Himself, appearing in the likeness of an angel. Students of Scripture call these magnificent appearances “theophanies” meaning literally, “an appearing of Deity to humankind”.

Because Jesus Christ has always existed for eternity as God the Son within the triune godhead of Father, Son, and Spirit, it would only make sense for Jesus, who would one day walk the earth in human flesh, to appear also to the Old Testament people as the same exact representation of God (Colossians 1:15) that He would later make in the New Testament.

The Angel of the Lord appeared at crucial, pivotal points in Israel’s history; moments when the nation had an important decision to make whether they would follow the ways of the Lord God or not.

The Lord’s message to the nation of Israel was first a reminder of His own faithfulness. “I said I will never break my covenant with you.” (verse 1) Regardless of what Israel chose, God would not be unfaithful. He would ensure to keep covenant with them by making them His chosen ones, crafting through them a great nation through whom would come salvation for all.

The Lord also gave a serious declaration, “I will not drive out these people before you. They will be thorns in your sides, and their gods will be a trap for you.” (verse 3) The Lord did not look down and suddenly decide to bring grief to Israel. They had chosen to abandon the covenant, they had decided to leave the Lord God and worship other false deities instead. They turned away from their Rescuing God, choosing to worship idols human hands had created instead of the Creator God Himself. (Isaiah 44:9-20Romans 1:22-23)

The Everyday Application

1) Who is this angel of the Lord and why would he bring such bad news to Israel, God’s chosen people? (verses 1-5)

Can you imagine being visited by Christ Himself as you gathered with fellow worshippers at your local church one Sunday? What message might He declare over your congregation?! We don’t have to wonder because the Lord God did indeed appear in the flesh on earth!

When Jesus came from Heaven as an infant who grew up to preach of the coming Kingdom of Heaven, He spoke a very similar message to the one He spoke to ancient Israel in Judges 2.

Jesus was the embodiment of the Promise from Old Testament times. As the Lord spoke “I will never break covenant with you”, Jesus came to prove that saying true. The life He lived perfectly in our human flesh was proof that He would never, and had never, broken covenant. In fact, He came to fulfill that Old Covenant and usher in a New Covenant, one that is still to come for us!

The New Covenant says that all who believe in the Lord Jesus will be saved for eternity (Romans 10:9), which brings up part two of the Lord’s message. The Lord’s appearance to His Beloved Israel was for their benefit and their reproof. 

He clearly told Israel how they had broken His covenant, how they had worshipped other gods over Him. They had sinned irreparably. This is the same message for every one of us living today: we have sinned and are beyond repair.

But God, who is perfectly faithful, has not and will not, break covenant. If we simply trust in His sacrifice on our behalf, believing that He is exactly who He says He is and that His righteousness was given in exchange for our wretched sinfulness, then “He who is faithful and just will cleanse us from all unrighteousness” and give us eternal life. (1 John 1:9)

The Original Intent

2) If Israel was such a faithful nation during Joshua’s lifetime (verse 7) and then got stuck in a cycle of sin, what was the key changing factor for them as a nation? (verses 9-11)

Tragic words are recorded in verses 10-11After them another generation rose up who did not know the Lord or the works he had done for Israel. The Israelites did what was evil in the Lord’s sight.” God knew that if a generation failed to speak of His Holy Name, if they failed to teach their children who the Lord God was and of His glory, they would stop honoring Him.

This is why He commanded parents to “teach them (His Word) diligently to your children”. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) Without this diligent training, Israel would follow their sinful, human desires and set up for themselves other gods to worship.

Within the span of a single generation, this is exactly what happened. Israel forgot who God was to them and what He had done for them, and gradually, over time, like taking one small step off course after another, an entire generation had drifted so far from the Lord, they didn’t even know Him.

Moses was an incredible leader who followed God’s heart and spoke with the Lord as a friend. After him, Joshua walked closely with God, leaning on Him alone for courage and wisdom as He led Israel into the Promised Land. After Joshua’s death, however, they had no leader who followed God as Moses and Joshua had done, and little by little, they let go of what had once been so important and, almost imperceptibly, Israel slipped into apathy.

The Everyday Application

2) If Israel was such a faithful nation during Joshua’s lifetime (verse 7) and then got stuck in a cycle of sin, what was the key changing factor for them as a nation? (verses 9-11)

No one directionally decides they are going to head towards apathy. It is a slow fade, one small change after another. Laying aside something we once did and exchanging it for another, easier thing.

Becoming apathetic is not difficult, following the Lord diligently takes intentional practice and daily discipline. Because don’t we all want a “god” we can manipulate and craft and fit into a box of our choosing? A “god” who doesn’t demand anything of us, only giving us whatever we want like a genie in a bottle?!

This is our heart serving ourselves; this is pride, the root of all sin. It was not by random chance that God’s very first commandment is “Have No Other gods Before Me”. (Exodus 20:3) These few words in the opening of Judges call us to seriously examine our daily life and our loves.

Where are we falling off course when it comes to following Jesus fully? Where are we substituting “gods” of our making for the real God who insists we give Him total surrender?

Take note, pray, and ask the Lord who loves to love us, to return our hearts and our ways back towards Him!

The Original Intent

3) How does the Lord’s “burning anger” reflect relentless love?

Three times in this passage we read of the Lord’s anger (verse 121420). Twice His anger is described as “burning”. Some people imagine God to be high above, waiting for us to mess up so He can smite us with His anger.

But this is not the God of the Bible, either in the New Testament or even in the Old. His tender mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23) and His love endures forever (Psalm 136). So how can both of these extremes be true of God?

Because the Lord God is a righteously jealous God. On the heels of His second commandment (make no graven images), God states, “for I the Lord your God am a jealous God.” (Exodus 20:4-5) He even says one of His names is “Jealous God”. (Exodus 34:14) He is jealous for our hearts and our sole devotion.

The Everyday Application

3) How does the Lord’s “burning anger” reflect relentless love?

Why would God call Himself Jealous? Does He need our adoration like a narcissistic being intent on loving Himself? Does He simply want more conceited glory for Himself? Not in the slightest! This would be a gross description of the God of the Bible!

Before God ever created “creation”, humanity included, He was fully delighted within Himself, enjoying the fullness of giving and receiving holy love as a community within the triune godhead as Father, Son, and Spirit. He did not need us to love Him to make Him feel whole. He was, and is, love. (1 John 4:8) 

No, He is a jealous God because He loves us. He knows when we chase lesser loves, we end up broken, scarred, and wounded. He knows no one will bring satisfaction like a relationship with Him will do. He knows that only when we are knit to our Creator do we find our purpose (Acts 17:28).

We were made for relationship with Him! We were designed to be worshippers. It’s just that, because of sin, we wreck that beautiful design and, instead of worshipping our Creator, we worship the created. (Romans 1:25)

We worship ourselves and our own sinful desires. We break God’s design, and this breaks God’s heart. And so, He chooses to pursue us. A pursuit that cost His life and His unity within the godhead for the sake of bringing us back into a relationship with Him.

He died to bring us back. This is why He is a jealous God. This is why He relentlessly pursues: because He loves us. (Isaiah 43:3-4)

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