Focal Passage: Judges 2:11-19
Trivia Question: What do Pharaoh, Korah and Jonah share in common? Answer: They all rebelled against God.
There are many cycles in life, and the cycle of obedience to disobedience to punishment to repentance leading back to obedience is one of them. It was a common cycle experienced by biblical characters and the nation of Israel. Following the death of Joshua, God “raised up” judges to govern and counsel. These men, and one woman, did not inherit judgeship. Neither were they elected by the people.
They were specifically chosen by God. Further, judges were not career politicians. They were ordinary people with varying degrees of leadership skills that God could and would use. They also seemed to serve regionally, rather than nationally.
The problem wasn’t, for the most part, the judges. The problem was the people.
Whenever they disobeyed God and His appointed judge, bad things happened. It was the classic case of action and reaction, cause and effect. The rebellion is seen in verses 12-13, where a significant number of Israelites “went after” and “bowed down” to the Baals and Ashtoreths, abandoning God. God’s reaction is evidenced in verses 14-15, where God’s “anger burned” and He “handed over” and “sold them” and “brought disaster” upon the rebels.
Rebellion and its ensuing cycle is not limited to bad people. Israel as a nation rose and fell many times, and sometimes when she fell hard enough, she would repent and experience restoration (cf. 18b). God chose judges, but God was the ultimate Judge. God never approved of rebellion’s cycle; it caused Him much angst. He would have preferred that His people always behave obediently and righteously.
Pharaoh’s rebellion led to the first “million man march,” right out of Egypt. Korah’s rebellion led to an earthquake of deadly proportions. Jonah’s rebellion led to three days in the belly of the great fish. And of the three, only Jonah was open to repentance and restoration. The cycle of rebellion is to be avoided like the plague.