There was an old TV game show that aired several years ago called “Truth or Consequences.” Contestants were asked a question and would receive a prize if they guessed the correct answer. However, it was all but impossible to get the answer correct, so the contestant would have to suffer the consequences.
That is not the case when it comes to getting the “answer” correct with God. The correct “answer,” when we are dealing with God, is obedience! Of course, there are consequences either way—if you get the answer correct (are obedient), the consequence is God’s blessing; if you get the answer wrong, (are disobedient), the consequence is God’s judgment.
1. If I spill bleach on the living room carpet what is the result? (There is no escaping the consequences of such a spill—it would be almost impossible to clean it up.)
The consequence to being disobedient to God leaves a lasting stain on our lives as well. The book of Judges begins with a summary of what follows—unlike most books that give the summary at the end. After Joshua and the elders who learned from him died the people of God forgot what God had done for them and started worshipping the gods of the people that were their enemies.
2. Who is at fault here, Joshua and the elders or the next generation?
Read Judges 2:8-10.
Generally, when a nation was defeated they began to worship the gods of the country that defeated them. How strange that the Children of Israel would adopt the gods of a defeated people and forsake the true Living God! Instead of destroying the gods of the people they defeated, they decided to worship them!
The cycle was sin (disobedience), suffering (God’s judgment), supplication (crying out to God), and salvation (God’s deliverance). This cycle was repeated time after time for about 400 years. But it wasn’t just a repeating of the same sin it consisted of a spiraling downward into greater depths of depravity and rejecting of God’s love and grace!
3. Why do people follow after idols?
4. Why do we repeat the same sins as our ancestors?
5. Why don’t we learn from history?
As believers we will be tested to reveal where our faithful allegiance rests. Sometimes people reject God when things are going unbelievably great and sometimes people reject God when faced with a crisis. A good example of this is found in Proverbs 30:7-9.
As life comes at us we must decide, “Will I walk in truth, fearing God and worshiping Him, or will I walk in sin to endure the consequences that follow?”
Abandonment! Read Judges 2:11-13
1. What was the explicit evil that the people did in the sight of the Lord? (They served other gods besides Yahweh, which was expressly forbidden in the first commandment. It was exactly what Joshua had warned them about in Joshua 24:14-15.)
Do you find it astonishing how straight forward these verses discuss their sin? It is all disclosed for the world to see. The author was blatant about their abandonment of the worship of God alone.
2. How does this depiction serve as a warning today? (These verses should encourage us to be just as honest about our own sin and to call it out as an affront to God.)
3. What was so enticing about the Canaanite gods? (There was something tangible to see, touch and worship. There was also degrading moral acts involved in their worship of these gods.)
4. What is the connection between sin and worshiping God?
5. How does one impact the other?
6. In what ways could we abandon God?
Oppression! Read Judges 2:14-15
1. What was God’s response to Israel’s disobedience? (God’s anger burned against Israel, and he gave them over to their enemies. They had to fight in their own strength so they lost in the battles they attempted to fight.)
Notice the images used in verse 13 indicate slavery, “He sold them to the enemies around them, and they could no longer resist their enemies.”
2. Does God use the same means to discipline His people today as He did to discipline the Israelites back then? (Yes! He will allow us to be defeated by our own choices. He will allow us to suffer the consequences of our sin. Part of it is a natural consequence of our bad choices and part of our punishment is God’s direct discipline for sin.)
3. In the passage, who is to blame for the struggles of Israel? (Israel’s real enemy was themselves and their own sin. They alone were to blame for their struggles and for God removing His protection from them.)
4. Who would you consider to be the real enemy? (This is an act of God’s loving discipline. Read Proverbs 3:11-12.)
Like the people of Israel during the time of the Judges, we must also prepare ourselves for God’s discipline when there is disobedience. Now let’s look at verses 16-19 and the hope that God offers His people.
Repentance! Read Judges 2:16-19
1. Who was the primary actor for the good of the Israelites? (God is the One who acted for the good of Israel.)
2. How was this good accomplished? (He brought about this good by raising up judges who led the people to reform their ways.)
The Judge’s task in ancient Israelite tribal society included military, political, judicial, and religious activities. (See kit item 7)
3. How would you describe the cycle of disobedience we see in these verses?
4. Why is repentance important in the life of the unbeliever?
5. As Christians, what can we learn from this so we don’t fall into a similar cycle of rebellion? (As Christians, we often go to God when times are difficult and weep over our sin, yet too often we do not listen to the Word or the Holy Spirit, and we fall back into disobedience.)
6. Why is repentance important in the life of the believer?
Instead of plunging into this pattern, we should focus on listening to God speak to us in His Word and through our pastors and teachers. We also need disciplined accountability within the local church to encourage us to walk as we have been taught. We need to be consistent in our Bible Study and Worship attendance. That way we will not become like the Israelites and forget what God has done for us, in us, and through us!
Summarize and Challenge!
What should we take away from this text about God’s attitude toward His people, including us?
· If you have never confessed your sin, repented and accepted Jesus as your Savior, you are outside His protection!
· We see God’s amazing patience with His people!
· Because of His love and faithfulness, God stays with us, even when we don’t deserve it.
· This should drive us to a deeper appreciation for God’s grace and toward seeking more holiness in our lives.
This week, incorporate into your personal prayer time an emphasis on thankfulness for God’s loving discipline in your life. If there is an area of your life where God is disciplining you at this moment, repent and be faithful to Him.
Close with prayer, thanking God for His discipline in our les.