by Tom Moll
“Will you never learn?” I heard those words many times from my mother as I was growing up. It must have seemed to her that she warned me repeatedly and to no apparent avail about the consequences of my actions.
In Judges 10, the Israelites cried to the Lord again. They told him that they knew they had sinned against him, but they pleaded for him to deliver them from yet another enemy they had chosen to serve and worship.
A Pattern Repeated
The Israelites are not the only ones to ignore the commands of God. Our culture is equally guilty. Even though God clearly tells us to give him what belongs to him, we refuse. Even though he tells us to be generous, we withhold what we have as though we have complete ownership. We have bills we cannot pay and debts seemingly too big to overcome.
We refuse to view our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit and we suffer with bad health. We have not truly learned the lessons we have been taught and we pay a terrible price. We lie and then wonder why people won’t trust us. We pretend to care about people but pursue our own agendas.
A Pattern Broken
The disobedient Israelites trashed their foreign gods, and God answered their request for help, for he “could bear Israel’s misery no longer” (Judges 10:16). Jephthah, the former outcast, was called by the Israelites to help them defeat the Ammonites.
Is that not encouraging for us today? Although, like the children of Israel, we have turned our backs on God, although we have embraced lifestyles that are totally abhorrent to him, he holds out the promise that if we repent, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
When the cries of a sinful world came up to God, he could bear our misery no longer and sent his Son to provide a way for his people to return to him.
Tom Moll is senior minister at Christ’s Church at Mason (Ohio), where his wife Kay is director of Women’s and Missions Ministries.