Where Did You Go Israel?

Israel is measured and found wanting.

This week in our men’s Bible Study we covered Judges 2: 6-15. The story returns to the death of Joshua, providing much greater detail than the quick mention of Joshua’s death on Judges 1:1. One of the interesting things is Joshua is referenced as a fellow that served the Lord all his days and during his life the people of Israel also followed the Lord.

The problem happens when Joshua dies. After Joshua, the other elders also died off, and there was a new crop of Israelites that did not witness the plagues of Egypt or the parting of the Red Sea, not that it would have mattered as the generation that witnessed those events made a golden calf almost immediately…

Back to Joshua, we see his remains after his 110 years are up are handled nicely and he is buried within the boundaries of his inheritance, which harkens back to Moses and the dividing of the land. We see the whole generation of Joshua is gathered to their fathers and the Bible says explicitly the generation that followed, “did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel.”

This is the background details missing in Chapter 1 of Judges. Then we watch this new generation stray in their faith. They go chasing after the Baals and the Ashtaroth, leaving the one true God for false gods and idols. In response God is angry with their breaking of the covenant and gives them over to their enemies. God’s divine protection is removed from them and instead they are sold into the hands of their surrounding enemies.

As it is with this new generation, we often see in our lives and those around us. A faithful mom or dad, might build a life, a business, or practice a deep and meaningful faith and they do their best to pass the work ethic and faith to their children, but often the children grow up privileged and no matter how hard the parents try, the kids are nothing like them.

This does not always happen, but it happens enough. We see it frequently in the Old Testament. A faithful generation is followed by many wicked ones before another faithful generation is raised up. In the Book of Judges we are witnessing a corrupt generation willingly walking away from God and going their own way, chasing after whatever they can get their hands on, except the things of God. God does not forget them and continues being faithful to Israel, even though they have broken the covenant again.