This morning I was reading in Judges and I came across the familiar situation of the Israelites. They had disobeyed God. God punished the Israelites. The Israelites cry to the Lord for mercy.
But, this time the situation is different. In Judges 10:13, God says, "Yet you have forsaken me and served other gods; therefore I will save you no more. Go cry out to the gods you have chosen; let them save you in the time of your distress."
This seems like a harsh response. Doesn't the Bible say that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved? What happened in this situation?
There are at least two interpretations of this passage. Both of which speak a broader biblical truth. Yet both of the passages lead us to different conclusions about this specific scenario.
I'll give you one interpretation today:
God denies deliverance to Israel because they're really not repentance. They may be sorry about what they've done from a physical perspective, but they're not sorry for what they're done by denying God.
Therefore, God tells them to run to their gods. Obviously there's some harsh sarcasm here. God knows that these gods will never deliver them. These gods got them into this mess, and they will continue to mess them up all the way to hell.
Yet, the people of Israel respond to God by saying, "We have sinned; do to us whatever seems good to you. Only please deliver us this day" (v. 15b).
This looks like real repentance. The problem is that immediately after this, they pick a judge who doesn't seemed to be blessed by God. He even commits an abomination by sacrificing his daughter to God.
So, was there real repentance in Israel? This interpretation says no.
But, my question goes back to God saying that He will not save them anymore (v. 13).
Do you realize that apart from God's grace, this statement is true for everyone? Those who don't have Christ have no guarantee of temporal and/or eternal salvation. Yet God, in His abundant grace, looks beyond this decree and decides to save Israel again and again after this incident. Even when there seems to be no hope - maybe even precisely at that moment where we feel as though all hope is gone - God brings rescue.
God didn't stop bringing judges. And, finally, God allowed for kings. Ultimately God brought Jesus - the Great Rescuer. Mercy triumphs over judgment. And, while God is glorified in judging people according to their sins. God is also glorified, thankfully so, for forgiving sins!
Be thankful that God didn't stop at judging you by your works. Be thankful God judged you according to Christ's work!