(Photo by Kuba Morc/Getty Images)
“And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim: And they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the Lord to anger.” (Judges 2:11,12).
The book of Judges covers a period of time in Israel’s history when Israel had no “earthly” king. God appointed men, and one recorded woman, to rule over his people. One of the primary roles of these “judges” was to deliver Israel from their enemies.
Even under the new covenant, a covenant of grace, we can still learn much about God and about ourselves from studying this book. We see that God’s people tend to forget about him when all is going well. We learn that what God’s people turn to often destroys them. In other words, the thing that replaces God becomes a horrible master. We see God’s mercy and his willingness to deliver even the hard hearted. We are going to briefly talk about a life that is characterized by an on and off relationship with the Creator.
In Judges chapter 3, we read about Othniel. God put his spirit into Othniel so that he could deliver Israel from the oppression of the king of Mesopotamia. Othniel was successful, and Israel enjoyed 40 years of freedom. However, when Othniel died, Israel again did evil in God’s sight. They turned away from God, and their sin brought on another oppressor, the king of Moab. Israel then suffered for another 18 years before they cried out to God, and another Judge was raised up.
The pattern of turning away from God, suffering, repenting, and then finding deliverance is repeated all through the book of Judges, and we see it in the lives of many Christians today. They turn away from God and embrace the things of the world, their sin brings death to a part of their life, they cry out to God, and then God sends a deliverer. But, when the pain is over, they turn away from God and embrace what can destroy them. Living this type of lifestyle causes spiritual stagnation.
The “yoyo” Christian never accomplishes much for God’s kingdom. They are constantly taking 2 steps forward and 2 steps back. Their hearts are divided, and they have no real loyalty or commitment to the things of God. Also, they never see a steady flow of God’s power manifest in their lives.
The solution to this problem is to adopt a consistent and persistent devotional life that is centered on God’s word. A Christian’s day should start and end with prayer and scripture. This type of lifestyle renews the mind and strengthens the inner man. It is not struggling to overcome sin, it is allowing God’s power and presence to change and to strengthen the inner man.
The Christian must fight from the inside out. Our power comes from the indwelling Holy Spirit and our recreated human spirit. This transforming power will not manifest if our focus is not on the things of God.
It is time for us as Christians to move from being a type of “victimized Israel” to a type of a delivering judge. Instead of God sending people or circumstances to delver us, he wants to send us to deliver people. Make up your mind, today, to live a life that is focused on God’s word and fulfill the destiny that God has ordained for you.