Disobedience and Defeat
6After Joshua had dismissed the Israelites, they went to take possession of the land, each to his own inheritance. 7The people served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the Lord had done for Israel.
8Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of a hundred and ten. 9And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Heresb in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash.
10After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. 11Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals. 12They forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They provoked the Lord to anger 13because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. 14In his anger against Israel the Lord handed them over to raiders who plundered them. He sold them to their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist.15Whenever Israel went out to fight, the hand of the Lord was against them to defeat them, just as he had sworn to them. They were in great distress.
16Then the Lord raised up judges,c who saved them out of the hands of these raiders. 17Yet they would not listen to their judges but prostituted themselves to other gods and worshiped them. Unlike their fathers, they quickly turned from the way in which their fathers had walked, the way of obedience to the Lord’s commands. 18Whenever the Lord raised up a judge for them, he was with the judge and saved them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived; for the Lord had compassion on them as they groaned under those who oppressed and afflicted them. 19But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their fathers, following other gods and serving and worshiping them. They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways.
20Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel and said, “Because this nation has violated the covenant that I laid down for their forefathers and has not listened to me, 21I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations Joshua left when he died. 22I will use them to test Israel and see whether they will keep the way of the Lord and walk in it as their forefathers did.” 23TheLord had allowed those nations to remain; he did not drive them out at once by giving them into the hands of Joshua.
1These are the nations the Lord left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars in Canaan 2(he did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience): 3the five rulers of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites living in the Lebanon mountains from Mount Baal Hermon to LeboaHamath. 4They were left to test the Israelites to see whether they would obey the Lord’s commands, which he had given their forefathers through Moses.
5The Israelites lived among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 6They took their daughters in marriage and gave their own daughters to their sons, and served their gods.
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Christians experience ups and downs in their walk with God.
When Joshua and the leaders around him died (2.7), a depressing cycle in Israel’s history began (2.10-19). They turned away from God, worshiped idols and experienced disaster. Then, in desperation they cried to God and he raised up leaders (“Judges”) and saved them. But the cycle happens again and again. The good news is that, with God’s help, we can stop the cycles and grow stronger in our relationship with him as a result (James 1.2-4).
NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU’VE FALLEN AWAY, GOD WANTS TO MEET WITH YOU TODAY.