Visible vs. Invisible
As you prepare to meditate on God’s Word, Ask God to help you focus on him without distractions.
Read JUDGES 2:6-23
 After Joshua had dismissed the Israelites, they went to take possession of the land, each to his own inheritance.  The people served the LORD throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the LORD had done for Israel.  Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died at the age of a hundred and ten.  And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Heres in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash.  After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel.  Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD and served the Baals.  They forsook the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They provoked the LORD to anger  because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths.  In his anger against Israel the LORD handed them over to raiders who plundered them. He sold them to their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist.  Whenever Israel went out to fight, the hand of the LORD was against them to defeat them, just as he had sworn to them. They were in great distress.  Then the LORD raised up judges, who saved them out of the hands of these raiders.  Yet they would not listen to their judges but prostituted themselves to other gods and worshiped them. Unlike their fathers, they quickly turned from the way in which their fathers had walked, the way of obedience to the LORD’s commands.  Whenever the LORD raised up a judge for them, he was with the judge and saved them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived; for the LORD had compassion on them as they groaned under those who oppressed and afflicted them.  But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their fathers, following other gods and serving and worshiping them. They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways.  Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel and said, “Because this nation has violated the covenant that I laid down for their forefathers and has not listened to me,  I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations Joshua left when he died.  I will use them to test Israel and see whether they will keep the way of the LORD and walk in it as their forefathers did.”  The LORD had allowed those nations to remain; he did not drive them out at once by giving them into the hands of Joshua. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhy was there a need for Judges?
It’s always a good idea to learn from the mistakes of others! Reading about the “stubborn” ways (19) of the people provides us with a great opportunity for our own spiritual health check.
Think about today’s popular culture and its “religions” of fashion, celebrity, sex, sports, possessions and making money. They are popular, attractive and highly visible through magazines, films, TV and the Internet. Their worshipers are vocal and encourage others to join them. Like the Israelites, we, too, can be guilty of embracing the religions of our highly visible culture at the cost of our relationship with the invisible God.
Of course, I’m not saying that those things in themselves are wrong, or that we should have nothing to do with modern life. In fact, to be effective in sharing our faith we need to be right in the middle of it all, making friendships and genuinely reaching people with God’s love. But as the people of God, like Israel in this passage, we’re called to be distinct. So we must live immersed in the culture in order to make a difference to it, but always under the Lordship of Jesus so it doesn’t overly influence us.
Examine your attitudes to the aspects of culture that affect you most. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you have a godly perspective.
Lord, help me to live for You in the midst of this culture, reaching people with the message of Your love.