Have you ever read the book of Judges? Often, we look at the nation of Israel and ask ourselves how people could be so stubborn and foolish. We tend to look at all the times they “missed the point” or “how quickly they forget.” We forget that many times, their recorded story is our daily reality. Let’s take a moment and look at Judges 3:5-6.
“So the people of Israel lived among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 6 And their daughters they took to themselves for wives, and their own daughters they gave to their sons, and they served their gods.”
Didn’t they remember the works and wonders God performed in the past? Our quick assumption would be to think they completely forgot God. After all, they sure weren’t acting like “His people” should behave. I want to challenge you that this wasn’t the case. They did know about God. After all, if we look in Judges 3:9, they certainly remembered they could cry out to him! It wasn’t that they did not know about him; they didn’t know him.
This is a big difference. The people knew of God, but they didn’t know him. Their hearts were pulled astray to other gods, and desires of the flesh trumped the dedication of their hearts. God told them in Deuteronomy 7:2, not to enter covenants with the people of the land . . . but they did.
Further reading tells us they did so out of selfish gain and fleshly desires. God told them that he alone was to be worshipped in Deuteronomy 6:5. However, the people’s straying heart followed in the steps of Adam.
Do you see yourself in this pattern? Do you see how we fall into the same traps as the Israelites? We have tasted and seen that the Lord is good. We have Christ as our Savior, and we have abundant material blessings. How many times do we forget? How many times are our hearts lead astray by desires and we forget the truth of God?
We may never truly forget God, but we do struggle with his exclusivity. After all, don’t we always remember who to cry out to when we are in trouble? I want you to know that if you only find yourself turning to God when you are in trouble, that is a sign of a divided heart. It is a sign of a heart that is held captive by selfish desires and idols. If we only go to him when we are in trouble, then he is not the focus of our hearts. We are just like Israel in the book of Judges.