Today starts with the stark reality of Israel’s action (and inaction). The chapter starts with a revealation of by an angel of the Lord of Israel’s disobedience to the Lord by allowing the inhabitants of the land to live with them and influence them to serve other gods. Israel had made a league with the inhabitants of the land, now they are like thorns in Israel’s sides and their gods a snare unto them. Israel wept on hearing this!
We were them reminded of how the people lived under Joshua and the elders who knew the works of God. However, when all that generation died, a new generation arose that did not know the Lord. This new generation began to serve Baalim and forsook the Lord God of their fathers, serving the gods of the people round about them.
What a shame! There are two sides to this problem. The first is obviosuly a failure on the part of the fathers or the previous generation to transfer the reality of the God of Israel to future generations. One of the warnings and commandments of God was that the people should teach their children and generations to come his laws and commanments (see Deut 11:19). Memorials were also in place as reminders of His great works amongs them – what happened to all these?
The second part of the problem is that by allowing the remnants of the land to stay, the influenece of these inhabitants became strong on Israel. The people got accustomed to the ways of the old dwellers, they lost their own values. It now becomes so clear why God warned them beforehand to totally destroy these people, and the real consequence of Israel’s disobedience.
As God is a jealous God, his anger was provoked when the people served other gods, against his commandments. He gave them up to their enemies round about them, and the began to serve the people who were serving them before. Wherever they went, the hand of the Lord was against them for evil and they were greatly distressed.
We however saw a glimmer of hope, as God is a merciful God. He raised up Judges to deliever the people out of the hand of those that spoiled them. This was however not a lasting solution, as the people were accustomed to sin, and would not listen to these judges – they obeyed when the judges lived but depart as soon as they died. God however still listened to their groanings and always send the judges to deliver them all the same.
The Lord did not drive out all the nations left when Joshua died, he left them to prove Israel whether they will keep His way as their fathers did or not.
In the current world, with all the glitz, glamour, and questions people raise and their reasons to doubt and disobey, the biggest question is – is today’s generation not almost exactly like this Israel’s ‘generation X’?
Some verses to remember
vs 10: And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.
vs 16: Nevertheless the LORD raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them.
vs 21-22: I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died: That through them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of the LORD to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not.