2.1-5 God tries. God always tries. He tries to gently push man in the right direction. The issues from the garden of Eden prevail, and self will asserts itself repeatedly. God sends an angel to rebuke and instruct. The journey of the angel reflects their journey also. Gilgal was such an important moment in their history. It was there that  their curse of the wilderness was rolled away. The signal from God is return to your commitments to follow me. They are reminded to cast out the inhabitants of the land and destroy their altars. Upon hearing the angel, the people wept, and named the place Bochim (weepers).

2.6-10 death of Joshua. The key to Joshua’s greatness is seen in the appellation “the servant of the Lord”. If Joshua had lived longer, the entire rubric of this narrative would be different. As it is, the God directed conduct of the nation lasted one more generation. The seed of self rule had now grown into a full blown tree and the fruit was terminal.

2.11-15 Baal. Their religion quickly becomes a travesty in the eyes of God. They turn to Baal. Baal was the chief deity of Canaan. He was a storm God that also bequeathed fertility. It is a sad epitaph on Israel that she so quickly adopted this worship and continued for so long. The Old Testament is replete with warnings against worshipping other Gods. Israel quickly falls into this rut and stays there for a thousand years.

2.16-23 Judges. This passage succinctly explains the Judges. It is a roller coaster ride for 450 years. Every corner and part of the nation is affected. No region on the compass holds true to God. The book now begins to document region by region what happens when men do that what is right in their own eyes. This is the most graphic display in the history of mankind of the need of God. Man at his best is still at his lowest without God. The interludes of God raised, and God anointed, freedom fighters to throw off the yoke of oppression, is stark, poignant and powerful. During the life of the judge, Israel thrived and conquered. At the death of the judge, the baseness of man bubbled to the top again and the cycle repeats. Each cycle seemed to take the populace a little lower. God decides to leave the opposing inhabitants of the land and use them to prove Israel. This proving was not for God for he knows the end from the beginning. This proving was for Israel to look into the mirror and see what happens when man is left to do what he thinks is right. Man without God is the most ugly sight of all. The next 19 chapters show that image in all it’s horror and shame. It is an image of repeated immorality, spiritual apostasy, and unmitigated failure.

Thanks for reading today….

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