“The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord; they forgot the Lord their God and served the Baals and the Asherahs” (Judges 3:7).
The book of Judges reads like the ‘whose who’ of God’s chosen. From the assassin Ehud to Gideon, Samson, or Deborah; we hear of the courageous exploits those called by God achieved. And yet, often we miss the bigger picture of why they were called.
This verse gives us the answer. The people had forgotten God. Everyone did whatever they pleased. A fallible group of humans doing what was ‘right’ in their own eyes. The problem here is that without God we are indeed completely fallible and misled. Forgetting God seems to be a root cause in many a nation’s plight.
Russian Communism resulted in the deaths of literally tens of millions of their own people. Internal genocide sought to erradicate all religion from communism’s landscape. Ultimately communism systematically destroyed its own. Alexander Solzhenitsyn was quoted stating…
“Over half a century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia ” ‘Men have forgotten God; that’s why all of this has happened’.
In Judges, Israel falls further and further from God’s covenant as it prostitutes itself to other gods, other means of blessing and inter-whines itself with the myriad of beliefs surrounding it. The result is a continual cycle of disobedience, punishment, repentance, salvation. A vicious cycle where nobody seems any wiser. Even after hundreds of years - nothing has changed.
In our own lives seeking God remains the wisest route. A narrow path yes, often the path of the greatest resistance (Israel had to face iron chariots) yet attempting to find the easy way out, In Israels case accepting the beliefs around them, ultimately led to them forgetting God and replacing Him with false gods. Disaster always followed.
The message today is more relavant than ever. Surrounded by a plethora of professed truths, multiple religions, atheism, agnosticism and capitalism, how easily we forget God and turn to the ‘Baals’ for security. And thus find ourselves alone, frightened or confused.
The Lord Jesus Christ states “Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Mt 6:33). A timeless message, that history often forgets as it forgets God.