Judges 10: A Picture of Forgiveness
Guess what happened in Judges chapter 10. The people of Israel wandered away from God yet again.
Jdg 10:6 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim, and Ashtaroth, and the gods of Syria, and the gods of Zidon, and the gods of Moab, and the gods of the children of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines, and forsook the LORD, and served not him.
Then, guess what happened next.
Jdg 10:7 And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hands of the Philistines, and into the hands of the children of Ammon.
The pattern is becoming pretty predictable. The children of Israel were in captivity for 18 years. Then, they decided that they needed to come back to God and allow Him to take care of them again.
Let me return to this idea of language. The word sold can be literal or figurative in Hebrew in this situation. Therefore, another possible translation is surrendered. That makes quite a bit more sense. God let the Philistines take over. God did not literally make a profit by selling Israel. He allowed them to be taken.
Jdg 10:10 And the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, saying, We have sinned against thee, both because we have forsaken our God, and also served Baalim.
Jdg 10:11 And the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Did not I deliver you from the Egyptians, and from the Amorites, from the children of Ammon, and from the Philistines?
Jdg 10:12 The Zidonians also, and the Amalekites, and the Maonites, did oppress you; and ye cried to me, and I delivered you out of their hand.
Jdg 10:13 Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more.
Jdg 10:14 Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation.
Jdg 10:15 And the children of Israel said unto the LORD, We have sinned: do thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good unto thee; deliver us only, we pray thee, this day.
Jdg 10:16 And they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the LORD: and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.
Let me give you a little bit of a preview from tomorrow. God does help the children of Israel just like He always does.
This is forgiveness in a nutshell.
We do something wrong. It happens all the time, and even though we try to avoid it, it seems like sin is always somewhere.
Then, God never stops loving us, but He may allow consequences to come into our lives. Again, we have to go back to the end of Deuteronomy. God told people that they could have good consequences or bad consequences. It was their decision, and they were certainly informed of the situation.
However, when we come to God to ask for forgiveness, He is faithful to forgive us every time. Just like Israel, we need to acknowledge that we have been wrong, and we need to change our practice like they put away their idols.
I know this is not necessarily an optimistic chapter, but I think that if you view it from a forgiveness perspective, we can certainly learn something about the character of God.