“And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals.”Judges 2:11
And so it begins…well, sort of. The book of Judges records Israel’s repeated pattern of sin and rebellion against God. Again and again, their sin placed them at odds with the Lord and under the control of their enemies, but again and again, the Lord graciously raised up judges who delivered his people, only for them to fall back into the same pattern.
The pattern first becomes visible in Judges 2:11, but the seeds were sown in the opening chapter of Judges. God had instructed His people to drive out all the inhabitants of the land, but Judges 1 reports one instance after another of Israel’s failure to carry out that command. They sort of did what the Lord commanded. They started to do what He called them to do, but in the process of their partial obedience, they also left open the door to worship other gods. And that is the door we see the people of Israel walking through in Judges 2:11.
The pattern that played out in the days of the Judges can be an important reminder to us that sin doesn’t just appear out of nowhere. Jesus said in Matthew 15:18-19, “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” Jesus tells us what the book of Judges shows us–that the seeds of sin first take root in the heart, where self or someone or something other than God takes priority and where His commands are viewed merely as suggestions. The problem with that is that God is worthy of our entire hearts, and He knows the danger of His people living among other gods, competing for their attention and allegiance. So, we’re told to put sin to death. We’re told to flee from it. We’re warned against giving sin an opportunity to take hold in our lives. Are there priorities competing for the attention and allegiance of your heart today? If so, let’s flee from sin and run to Christ, who is worthy of our entire hearts!