I’ve been reading through the Old Testament book of Judges lately. I’ve always been fascinated—perhaps astounded is the better word—by ancient Israel’s capacity to forget God, no matter how miraculously He worked to deliver them from all manner of evil [mostly of their own making].
One particular passage stood out to me in my reading yesterday in Judges 10:13-16. It begins this way:
But you have forsaken Me and served other gods, so I will no longer save you. Go and cry out to the gods you have chosen. Let them save you when you are in trouble.
At that time, the “other gods” mentioned in the passage were literal symbols made of wood or stone, representations of some supposed deity. We’re more sophisticated than that today; we don’t make crude idols. Instead, we create symbols attached to individuals and “causes,” and put our trust in them. We have a large segment of our population that puts its trust in a benevolent and all-knowing government. Many of us have faith that our political leaders will save us.
We are living in a fantasy.
The passage continues with the response of the nation:
But the Israelites said to the Lord, “We have sinned. Do with us whatever you think best, but please rescue us now. Then they got rid of the foreign gods among them and served the Lord. And He could bear Israel’s misery no longer.
The Lord, seeing their repentance, sent deliverance once again. If we change, there is hope. That’s the true “hope and change” our society needs. We won’t receive the Lord’s deliverance, however, until we first put away our false gods.
I quoted from the NIV version of the Scriptures, but I’ve actually been reading from a little-known translation taken directly from the Aramaic. I like the way it expresses the last line in the passage when it says, “for the soul of Israel was grieved.”
Until our nation comes to the place where we—as a nation—are deeply grieved in our soul, there will be no deliverance. The repentance must begin with a sorrow over the way we’ve transferred our allegiance from the One True God to the false gods of government leaders and outward prosperity. If we can bring ourselves to see the foolishness of our trust in man, we can come to a real repentance. That’s the only route to deliverance.
We’ve never been in greater need of deliverance. God help us to see our errors, acknowledge them as sin, and return to the One who is the only One, and not a political messiah created by the mind of man.