Judges 6:1-10

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, July 11, 2016 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites. Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountain clefts, caves and strongholds. Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples invaded the country. They camped on the land and ruined the crops all the way to Gaza and did not spare a living thing for Israel, neither sheep nor cattle nor donkeys. They came up with their livestock and their tents like swarms of locusts. It was impossible to count them or their camels; they invaded the land to ravage it. Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the Lord for help.

When the Israelites cried out to the Lord because of Midian, he sent them a prophet, who said, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. I rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians. And I delivered you from the hand of all your oppressors; I drove them out before you and gave you their land. I said to you, ‘I am the Lord your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.’ But you have not listened to me.’” (Judges 6:1-10)

Remember how earlier in the book of Judges we talked about the repeating pattern of sin, slavery, supplication, salvation, and silence? Well, it’s back! After the 40 years of peace Israel experienced following their victory over Sisera’s armies, Israel again falls into the trap of not following God.

In the first part of verse 1, we see Israel sinning again. We don’t know details of that sin, but it’s enough to say that they “did evil in the eyes of the Lord.” The specific sin is relatively irrelevant, since all sin is evil in God’s eyes and causes us to be separated from Him.

In the second part of verse 1, we see that Israel ended up in slavery to the Midianites because of their sin. But this wasn’t any regular slavery; we see in verses 3-5 that both the Midianites and the Amalekites had invaded Israel’s territory. They were killing Israel’s crops and livestock, hoping to cause them to perish for lack of food and animals. This judgment that Israel received from the Midianites and the Amalekites was so bad that all they could do was hide in the hills.

What did Israel do to deserve this terrible treatment? Well for one thing, they did evil in the eyes of the Lord, so they deserved a punishment for that evil. But also, this curse was predicted back in Deuteronomy 28:31: “Your ox will be slaughtered before your eyes, but you will eat none of it. Your donkey will be forcibly taken from you and will not be returned. Your sheep will be given to your enemies, and no one will rescue them.” This entire section of Deuteronomy 28 lets Israel know what will happen if they disobey God, and there’s definitely a lot of bad stuff in there.

The pattern continues with Israel calling to God for help (supplication). We see in verse 6 that their situation got so bad that they finally decided to turn back to God. And when they did so, in verse 7, God sent them a prophet to help them out. The last time they cried out to God, He sent them Deborah and they were delivered. This time, however, God sends a prophet who doesn’t immediately deliver them but instead shows them their sinful ways.

Who is this prophet? We really don’t know, since not much description is given of him. But we do know that in verses 7-10, the prophet reminds Israel of how they have continually disobeyed God by worshiping the gods of the Amorites.

In this passage, we don’t see Israel get to the point of being delivered and having silence or peace in the nation for a period of time. For now, they need to realize that their actions have consequences.

This passage brings to mind for me something that I was taught a number of years ago. I went to Christian schools, and I’ll always remember some teachings that my high school freshman year religion teacher taught us. (Shout out to Mr. Gerlach at Lutheran High Westland!) He would often write on the board “O = B” and “D = C.” What does that mean? It’s really a shortened form of God’s natural law. If we Obey God, we’ll be Blessed (O = B). If we Disobey God, we’ll be Cursed (D = C). That’s how things worked for the Israelites back in the Old Testament, and that’s how they work for us today as well.

We do have God’s grace, especially after Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection, But God’s natural law is still how the world works. O = B and D = C; if we obey God, we’ll receive His blessing on our lives, but if we disobey God we’ll likely receive a curse. Which equation do you want to live by?

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