I know that I said this a lot while I was writing about the Israelites wandering in the desert, but Judges chapter 3 demonstrates once again that the Israelites did not learn from all of their previous mistakes.
Again, to return to the end of Deuteronomy, Israel knew what would happen if they did not follow God. They knew that the consequences would not be what they wanted, but they continued to be disobedient.
Jdg 3:7 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgat the LORD their God, and served Baalim and the groves.
Jdg 3:12 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the LORD.
These two verses are relatively close together, but they actually describe separate events. As a result of the first one, Israel was in captivity for eight years. Then, God brought Othniel into a leadership position, and he was able to liberate the Israelites.
After 40 years of peace, they again wandered away and were taken over by the Moabites. This time, they were in captivity for 18 years before Ehud was appointed by God to deliver the people.
Notice that there was exactly the same pattern in both of these situations. The people disobeyed, were put into captivity, cried out to God, were given a deliverer, were indeed set free, had a short time of peace and repeated the entire cycle over again.
I know that it is incredibly easy to judge the people of Israel. After all, why did it take them so long to figure it out? Why did they not realize that following God ultimately worked out better for them?
However, I think that these questions could be turned around for any one of us. Why do we continually mess up even though we know that it is clearly better to remain with God?
The answer for us is the same as the answer for the Israelites. We are unfortunately still human beings, so we cannot entirely shake off our sinful past, but if we remember that we are no longer slaves to sin as Christians, it can change our perspective. If we are not slaves to sin, we do not need to and honestly should not answer its call in our lives.