LESSON: Judges 10:10-18
TIME: 1087 B.C.
GOLDEN TEXT: “They put away the strange gods from among them, and served the Lord: and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel” (Judges 10:16)
Obedience to God is the highest praise a Christian can render to the Lord. Obedience requires the act of practicing and following instructions, and complying one’s lifestyle to harmonize with the will of God. Israel was God’s chosen people but Israel had a sin problem like so many folks share today. Israel not only witnessed God work in their lives but Israel witnessed the One and Only true God work in situations placed before them that only a miraculous someone could perform; that someone was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Many times Israel ended up in the same rut (boring and tiresome situation) because Israel turned to other gods while placing God on the back burner until they needed God to deliver them out of the hands of their enemy.
Israel called on God in times of deliverance but this time was a little different. In Judges 10:10 it is amazing what Israel spoke to God “they said, “We have sinned against you. We have abandoned our God and served other gods—the Baals.” They remained steadfast in their confession of sin. God’s Word Bible interprets in this manner “The people of Israel said to the Lord, “We have sinned. Do to us whatever you think is right. But please rescue us today!” (Judges 10:15). In time past, Israel prayed to God with such force and God delivered His people without pause. The Bible says, “Israel put away the strange gods from among them, and served the Lord.” Their repentance was genuine. Praise the Lord! The Bible also stated, “And he was grieved by their misery.” Scholars have paraphrased God’s anger by using words “the anger of the Lord was hot.” The Lord said to the people of Israel, “When the Egyptians, the Amorites, the Ammonites, the Philistines, the Sidonians, the Amalekites, and the Maonites oppressed you, you cried out to me for help. Didn’t I rescue you from them? Yet you have abandoned me and served other gods. So I will not rescue you anymore. Cry out for help to the gods you chose. Let them rescue you when you’re in trouble. But the Israelites said to the LORD, “We have sinned. Do with us whatever you think best, but please rescue us now.” (Judges 10:11-15) (God’s Word Bible, and New Living Translation Bible)
Therefore the Lord would not save them any more. They might get help from the gods whom they had chosen for themselves. We have heard and read where scholars have said, “The Israelites should now experience what Moses had foretold in his song (Deuteronomy 32:37-38). This divine threat had its proper effect. The Israelites confessed their sins, submitted thoroughly to the chastisement of God, and simply prayed for salvation; nor did they content themselves with merely promising, they put away the strange gods and served Jehovah, i.e., they devoted themselves again with sincerity to His service, and so were seriously converted to the living God.” Jehovah (God) could no longer look down upon the misery of Israel; He was obliged to help. The change in the purpose of God does not imply any changeableness in the divine nature; it simply concerns the attitude of God towards His people, or the manifestation of the divine love to man. In order to bend the sinner at all, the love of God must withdraw its helping hand and make men feel the consequences of their sin and rebelliousness, that they may forsake their evil ways and turn to the Lord their God. When this end has been attained, the same divine love manifests itself as pitying and helping grace. Punishments and benefits flow from the love of God, and have for their object the happiness and well-being of men. (Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament).
At that time the armies of Ammon had gathered for war and were camped in Gilead, preparing to attack Israel’s army at Mizpah. (Judges 10:17) (God’s Word Bible). The leaders of the people of Gilead said to each other, “Whoever will launch the attack against the Ammonites will be the head of all those living in Gilead.” (God’s Word Bible) (Judges 10:18). One great scholar recorded these words and they are still applicable today: “God is able to multiply men’s punishments according to the numbers of their sins and idols. But there is hope when sinners cry to the Lord for help, and lament their ungodliness as well as their more open transgressions. It is necessary, in true repentance, that there be a full conviction that those things cannot help us which we have set in competition with God. They acknowledged what they deserved, yet prayed to God not to deal with them according to their deserts. We must submit to God’s justice, with a hope in his mercy. True repentance is not only for sin, but from sin. As the disobedience and misery of a child are a grief to a tender father, so the provocations of God’s people are a grief to him. From him mercy never can be sought in vain. Let then the trembling sinner, and the almost despairing backslider, cease from debating about God’s secret purposes, or from expecting to find hope from former experiences. Let them cast themselves on the mercy of God our Saviour, humble themselves under his hand, seek deliverance from the powers of darkness, separate themselves from sin, and from occasions of it, use the means of grace diligently, and wait the Lord’s time, and so they shall certainly rejoice in his mercy.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)
Then the children of Ammon were gathered together, and encamped in Gilead. And the children of Israel assembled themselves together, and encamped in Mizpeh.
And the people and princes of Gilead said to one another, What man is he that will begin to fight against the children of Ammon? he shall be head over all the inhabitants of Gilead [Judges 10:17-18). The Israelites lacked leadership. That is always characteristic of men, or of a generation, that have turned from God. Lack of leadership has definitely characterized our nation for the last twenty-five years. In fact, there has been a lack of leadership in the world for many years. We need vital leadership, but we cannot seem to find it. This was Israel’s experience. Now they are going to turn to a most unusual man for guidance. Under normal circumstances they would not have turned to him at all. (Bible Commentary)