Thursday, January 15, 2009

Judges 2:6-15 Failure to Remember

Note: I put my laptop in the shop today. It has caught a cold and needs more space. But I am going through a bit of withdrawl and am having to use the desktop that I haven't used in a long time. This computer is having difficulty uploading pictures. Sorry

When Joshua dismissed the people, the Israelites all went to their own inheritances to take possession of the land. The people worshiped the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great work that the Lord had done for Israel. Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of one hundred ten years. So they buried him within the bounds of his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash. Moreover, that whole generation was gathered to their ancestors, and another generation grew up after them, who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel.

Then the Israelites did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and worshiped the Baals; and they abandoned the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; they followed other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were all around them, and bowed down to them; and they provoked the Lord to anger. They abandoned the Lord, and worshiped Baal and the Astartes. So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he gave them over to plunderers who plundered them, and he sold them into the power of their enemies all around, so that they could no longer withstand their enemies. Whenever they marched out, the hand of the Lord was against them to bring misfortune, as the Lord had warned them and sworn to them; and they were in great distress.

Over and over in the book of Judges we find that the Israelites did not remember what God had done for them. This period of the Judges was a time of tribal warfare and captivity. Wisely, the writer of Judges attributes this straying after other gods as a failure to remember the goodness of God and all that he had done for the children of Israel.

All too often, we forget the goodness of God. It is easy to fall into thinking that we have made our own way in life, not recognizing the grace of God in all that we are and do. For the Israelites it was easy to go after the gods of Astarte or Baal, they were omnipresent in their society. Astarte was the goddess of sexuality. Today we follow after godlessness—not allowing ourselves to admit how dependent we are on God’s grace.

Are we in a time, like the time of the Judges, when we have forgotten all that God has done for us? Perhaps. But I think we are more likely building our own time in which it is easier for us to be mindless of our roots in God’s actions. Christians must have a memory—all religions have memory—it is necessary for us to remember what God has done for us.
Those sects which fail to observe their history or try to rewrite their history according to their own desires detach themselves from the God who brought the Israelites from Egypt. And they fail to stand in the awe of our ancestors at the mighty works of the Divine.

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