In The Word
Read Judges 2:6-3:6
6 When Joshua had dismissed the people, the sons of Israel went each to his inheritance to possess the land. 7 The people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who survived Joshua, who had seen all the great work of the Lord which He had done for Israel. 8 Then Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of one hundred and ten. 9 And they buried him in the territory of his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash. 10 All that generation also were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel.
Israel Serves Baals
11 Then the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals,12 and they forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed themselves down to them; thus they provoked the Lord to anger. 13 So they forsook the Lord and served Baal and the Ashtaroth.14 The anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and He gave them into the hands of plunderers who plundered them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies around them, so that they could no longer stand before their enemies. 15 Wherever they went, the hand of the Lord was against them for evil, as the Lord had spoken and as the Lord had sworn to them, so that they were severely distressed.
16 Then the Lord raised up judges who delivered them from the hands of those who plundered them. 17 Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they played the harlot after other gods and bowed themselves down to them. They turned aside quickly from the way in which their fathers had walked in obeying the commandments of the Lord; they did not do as their fathers. 18 When the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge and delivered them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the Lord was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who oppressed and afflicted them. 19 But it came about when the judge died, that they would turn back and act more corruptly than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them and bow down to them; they did not abandon their practices or their stubborn ways. 20 So the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and He said, “Because this nation has transgressed My covenant which I commanded their fathers and has not listened to My voice, 21 I also will no longer drive out before them any of the nations which Joshua left when he died, 22 in order to test Israel by them, whether they will keep the way of the Lord to walk in it as their fathers did, or not.” 23 So the Lord allowed those nations to remain, not driving them out quickly; and He did not give them into the hand of Joshua.
Idolatry Leads to Servitude
3 Now these are the nations which the Lord left, to test Israel by them (that is, all who had not experienced any of the wars of Canaan; 2 only in order that the generations of the sons of Israel might be taught war, those who had not experienced it formerly). 3 These nations are: the five lords of the Philistines and all the Canaanites and the Sidonians and the Hivites who lived in Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal-hermon as far as Lebo-hamath. 4 They were for testing Israel, to find out if they would obey the commandments of the Lord, which He had commanded their fathers through Moses. 5 The sons of Israel lived among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; 6 and they took their daughters for themselves as wives, and gave their own daughters to their sons, and served their gods.
New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
Walking In The Word
God does not tempt us, but He does test us. He wants to see our heart. Verse 10 says, “and there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord nor yet the work which He had done for Israel.” That generation did evil in His sight and forsook the Lord, and followed the teachings and ways of the world around them. Thus, they provoked the Lord to anger and because they could no longer stand before their enemies, they were plundered.
The people were in a spiritual cycle of disobedience: not relying on God, falling away, rebelling, disciplined, crying for help, delivered, becoming obedient, blessed, then back to: not relying on God, etc. So the anger of the Lord burned against them, and He allowed nations to remain to test them, to find out if they would obey Him. The eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth so that He may strongly support those whose hearts are truly His. (2 Chronicles 16:9)
What does God see when He looks at your heart today? Are you getting so comfortable where you are that you are beginning to not rely on God? Are you allowing the world around you to influence you? What happens when times get tough? Are you walking in His ways regardless of the circumstances around you? Are you passing the test?