And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: Judges 2:11
Unfortunately we read this phrase 6 more times in the book of Judges. But in spite of what the Israelites did, God was faithful to His promise to care for them. 12 different judges were appointed by God to deliver them from countries that were oppressing and occupying their cities. But at the end of the book we read these words:
In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
God wanted the best for this nation (Israel) He had built, but they continuously settled for second best. The pattern of sin,repentance,deliverance and rest was a pattern repeated (at least) 12 times in the book of Judges. No matter how many times God saved them, these people continued to do things their way, rather than following God. How many times has that pattern repeated itself in our lives? We may not be conquered by foreign countries, but doing things our way opens up the possibility of being distracted from God's purpose and thereby limiting God's blessings. Here are three principles we can take away from this book (and there are many more!) which can help us as we live in this world, while preparing to meet our Savior in the next.
1. We don't deserve anything.
Hard words I know. Especially when we live in a time and place where hard work does produce results and can help us to achieve our dreams. But in the Kingdom of God, these rules don't apply. We are saved by His grace and His grace alone.
2. Resting is good but should only be a temporary posture for believers. When the Israelites "did evil in the sight of the Lord" they had become complacent. Evil fell on the nation during these times of rest. God invites us to a mission.
3. God is faithful. No matter how bad we mess up God is always there and waiting for our repentance. Forgiveness was applied on our behalf at Calvary, repentance is our way of agreeing with the plans of God and acting accordingly.