But Israel 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.
Judges can be summed up with the book’s last six words, “everyone did as he saw fit.” The account describes seven cycles of Israel running from God, paying the consequences, and then running back home.
In today’s passage, Israel had, once again, run from God and served pagan gods. Once again, sin’s consequences caused them to cry out for help. Once again, God is merciful to his children “And he could bear Israel’s misery no longer.”
There are two truths that echo throughout this book, truths we cannot forget. First, running from God is a futile journey that dead-ends in a cul-de-sac of consequences. Before we start down the path of sin, let’s not be ignorant as to what waits at the end. Second, God is gracious. Regardless of how far we have gone, how long we have been gone or how much damage we’ve done, the loving Father waits with open arms to welcome his child (prodigal though he or she may be) back home.
Father, thank you for your great grace. We are sinners so often determined to do as we see fit. But when we crash and cry out, you hear our prayer, forgive us and welcome us back home. Lord, as we are so thankful for your grace of forgiveness, please help us to follow closely to you so that the cul-de-sac of consequences becomes a more rare experience in our lives. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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