Demonstrate A Fully Obedient Faith
Reject Substitutes for Faith in the Lord
Judges 2:11 Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals; :12 and they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; and they followed other gods from among the gods of the people who were all around them, and they bowed down to them; and they provoked the Lord to anger. :13 They forsook the Lord and served Baal and the Ashtoreths.
The statement that they served Baalim (vs. 11) indicates that they worshiped localized Baal deities, thus the plural form im is used. Baal was a fertility god. He was looked upon as the chief vegetation god of the Canaanites and was thought to bring productivity to crops, animals, and men. He was also associated with the occurrences of weather and was usually depicted in Canaanite carvings as holding a lightning bolt in his hand. Thus, he is also called the “god of fire,” indicating the significance of Elijah’s challenge to the prophets of Baal (1 Kgs 18). The Hebrew word baal means “master,” or “lord.”
When the Israelites settled in Canaan, they soon discovered the local Baal deities were looked upon as the individual lords of the land. Thus, by worshiping him they were forsaking the lordship of their God for the lordship of Baal!
The text also refers to their serving other gods … of the people among whom they lived. As they forsook the Lord, they … served Baal and Ashtaroth. The Hebrew ending ot is also a plural ending, indicating they worshiped localized Ashtar deities. These were multi-breasted female fertility deities, whose worship often included bizarre sexual practices. The Babylonian form of this deity was Ishtar, and the Roman form was Easter (whose fertility signs, interestingly, were a rabbit and an egg).
Judges 2:14 And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel. So He delivered them into the hands of plunderers who despoiled them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, so that they could no longer stand before their enemies. :15 Wherever they went out, the hand of the Lord was against them for calamity, as the Lord had said, and as the Lord had sworn to them. And they were greatly distressed.
Since idolatry was regarded as a breach of covenant with the God of Israel, His anger was expressed against them by allowing them to be delivered … into the hands of spoilers (1:1, enemies). Because of the Israelites’ tendency to turn to Baal worship in times of peace, God kept the pressure on them by allowing invasions of their enemies so that they were greatly distressed. What can we learn from this?
Since their worship of Yahweh was the unifying factor among the Israelite tribes, the apostasy into Baal worship also tended to decentralize the strength of the nation. Their neglect of the covenant which bound them to the Lord, and also bound them together, caused them to present a divided front to their enemy invaders.
Judges 2:16 Nevertheless, the Lord raised up judges who delivered them out of the hand of those who plundered them.
Judges 2:17 Yet they would not listen to their judges, but they played the harlot with other gods, and bowed down to them. They turned quickly from the way in which their fathers walked, in obeying the commandments of the Lord; they did not do so. …..How can we apply this to our lives today?
Judges 2:18 And when the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge and delivered them out of 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 them and harassed them.
Judges 2:19 And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they reverted and behaved more corruptly than their fathers, by following other gods, to serve them and bow down to them. They did not cease from their own doings nor from their stubborn way.
Judges 2:20 Then the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel; and He said, “Because this nation has transgressed My covenant which I commanded their fathers, and has not heeded My voice, Judges 2:21 I also will no longer drive out before them any of the nations which Joshua left when he died, :22 so that through them I may test Israel, whether they will keep the ways of the Lord, to walk in them as their fathers kept them, or not.” :23 Therefore the Lord left those nations, without driving them out immediately; nor did He deliver them into the hand of Joshua.
Because Israel persisted in disobedience, God decided to allow the nations to remain in the land as chastisement upon His people (vv. 20–23).
Punishment for disobedience was not the only reason the Lord did not drive out all the Canaanites. He left them to test Israel (v. 22; 3:4) and to train succeeding generations for war (3:1, 2).
We can gain insight from this as to why the Lord allows believers to go through problems and trials. He wants us to know if “they will keep the ways of the Lord … or not” (v. 22).
This current generation is drifting away from God. Without a knowledge of God and what He has done in the past, what substitute(s) have been made? What is the result?
What does this generation need in order to experience a spiritual breakthrough?
Develop a Mature Faith
1 Corinthians 2:1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God.
The apostle now reminds the saints of his ministry among them and how he sought to glorify God and not himself.
He came to them proclaiming the testimony of God, not with excellence of speech or of wisdom. He was not at all interested in showing himself off as an orator or philosopher. This shows that the Apostle Paul recognized the difference between ministry that is soulish and that which is spiritual.
By soulish ministry, we mean that which amuses, entertains, or generally appeals to man’s emotions.
Spiritual ministry, on the other hand, presents the truth of God’s word in such a way as to glorify Christ and to reach the heart and conscience of the hearers.
1 Corinthians 2:2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
The content of Paul’s message was Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
Jesus Christ refers to His Person, while Him crucified refers to His work. The Person and work of the Lord Jesus form the substance of the Christian evangel.
1 Corinthians 2:3 I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling.
Paul further emphasizes that his personal demeanor was neither impressive nor attractive.
He was with the Corinthians in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling.
The treasure of the gospel was contained in an earthen vessel that the excellence of the power might be of God and not of Paul.
He himself was an example of how God uses weak things to confound the mighty.
1 Corinthians 2:4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,
Neither Paul’s speech nor his preaching were in persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.
Some suggest that his speech refers to the material he presented and his preaching to the manner of its presentation. Others define his speech as his witness to individuals and his preaching as his messages to groups.
According to the standards of this world, the apostle might never have won an oratorical contest. In spite of this, the Spirit of God used the message to produce conviction of sin and conversion to God.
1 Corinthians 2:5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
Macdonald, Farstad Grady Scott, Hindson, E.E.