Inconsequential or Essential?

This past week the Men’s Group studied Judges 10: 1-16. Following the likes of Deborah and Gideon is not a simple task and who wants to come after Abimelech and all of his problems? This is where Judges gets really interesting.

When Abimelech and the men of Shechem betrayed Israel, killing Gideon’s 70 sons and effectively crowning Abimelech without even consulting the one true God. Israel is oppressed by one of its own.

Following Abimelech’s death and justice being delivered to Shechem, we read, “After Abimelech there arose to save Israel Tola, the son of Puah, son of Dodo, a man of Issachar, and he lived at Shamir in the hill country of Ephraim. And he judged Israel twenty-three years.” After Tola, Jair is raised up to judge Israel for 22 years.

Combined, these two judge Israel 45 years. What we do not see though is an external threat like the other Judges faced. These two judges are different. BY the time Jair is judging Israel, he has 30 sons, who ride on 30 donkeys, and they have 30 cities. Israel, under the guidance of these two judges, moved from civil war under Abimelech and whoring after other gods during Gideon’s judgeship to a time of recovery and peace.

Tola and Jair spend their 45 years healing divides, shepherding Israel from the brink of destruction back to prosperity and recovery of their place in the world. So two judges, with very little ink, are very important and hugely consequential.

All of that takes five verses and then the wrecking ball hits Israel again. They do what is evil in the sight of the Lord, pursuing every god surrounding them as they reject the only God who saves. The Lord informs them He will not save them anymore and they should cry out to the many gods they have chosen to follow instead of the Lord.

We see eventually, in verse 16, Israel repents. Israel not only repents, they put away the foreign gods from among themselves and followed the Lord again. This is a lesson for us. So many people pursue everything but the Lord. Yet, when the chips are down, they call out for help.

I would like to encourage people of all stripes to put away their foreign gods, whatever they may be, and pursue God and serve the Lord. In this way God in his perfect righteousness and justice will spare you from eternal fire and damnation.