Summary: Too many people are in bondage to their negative thinking, irrational assumptions and sinful tendencies.
Many people start well but finish poorly. In Judges 2:11-23 we see how Israel began well but gave into a cycle of sin and slavery. The pattern is repeated seven times in the book of Judges over a 350 year period. This cycle of slavery to sin points out the truth of Galatians 6:6 which says, "Be not deceived, God is not mocked for whatever a man sows that will He also reap."
1. The Israelites forgot all of the wonderful blessings given to them by God. The Lord had delivered them from slavery in Egypt. God gave them protection from Pharoah’s army in the crossing of the Red Sea. The Israelites forgot to thank God for guiding through the desert of Sinai. The leaders of the Jews forgot to remember that it was the Lord who sent them manna in the wilderness. The people grumbled against their Godly leaders like Moses and Joshua who had guided them and served them in the fear of God. The Israelites had forgotten to praise God for all His goodness and refused to obey His commandments.
2. The Israelites served Baal because the generation of the young grew up not knowing the Lord or remembering what great things He had done for them. The Jews forsook God because they did not seem Him as relevant to their new situation. They allowed circumstances to affect their perspectives rather than letting God guide their thoughts.
3. The Israelites lost close fellowship with God because of their false sense of security in times of peace. When you are experiencing relative calm, do not fall into the trap of taking God for granted. Failure to consecrate ourselves to the Lord in good times will mean inability to withstand adversity when we least expect it.
4. The Israelites did not take time to worship and thank God for ALL of their blessings. It is easy to overlook all the good things that the Lord provides. Count your blessings and name them one by one. It will surprise you what the Lord has done. Praise is a great medicine for discouragement.
5. The Israelites did not trust God for victory preferring to turn away from God to idols. Eventually, they were punished by having to serve foreign oppressors. We all end up serving someone – let it be God and His righteous causes rather than those of the world.
6. The Israelites refused to listen to Godly judges sent to correct them. "They did not listen to their judges but prostituted themselves to other gods and worshipped them. Unlike their fathers, they quickly turned from the way in which their fathers walked, the way of obedience to the Lord’s commands." (Judges 2:17) Do not refuse the correction and instruction of a Godly person.
7. When the Israelites called on the Lord it was only superficial in commitment. Soon after the Lord rescued them they return to greater corruption, idolatry and disobedience than before.
8. The Israelites hid secret sins in their hearts. David wrote, "If I hide iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." (Psa. 66:18) Ask the Lord to purify your conscience before asking Him for your needs, wants, and concerns.
9. The Lord appointed Godly judges to deliver the Israelites from their enemies. God empowers righteous people to deliver godless people for His kingdom and glory. God worked through a few individuals who were willing to do the God’s work regardless of the cost. There will always be a remnant of Godly people even when it seems that all have turned away from the Lord. Great movements often begin with a few individuals instead of a mass movement toward Godliness.
10. Recognize that there is no such thing as a little sin. The wages of sin is still death. Sin requires a set of terrible consequences. Choose whom you will serve – sinful desires or God and His plan!