Day 16

O Come, Faultless Judge



Judges 2:1-23, Ezekiel 11:19-20, 2 Corinthians 3:4-6

BY Guest Writer

In the book of Judges things really start to go wrong for God’s people. Or rather, it’s where God’s people really start to go wrong. Judges 2 is framed as a test—a test that the Israelites fail miserably. In a sense, this chapter sums up the story of the entire book of Judges. Perhaps it’s also the story of all of us, easily tempted away from God and enchanted by the glittery offerings of the world, of other gods.

Joshua had faithfully led God’s people into Canaan, and at first, the Israelites remembered God’s steadfast love. “They had seen all the Lord’s great works he had done for Israel” (v.7). But then, distracted by the pagan gods of their new neighbors, they forgot God. They wandered with their hearts, after having wandered for decades in the desert.

The cycle of apostasy is a fancy theological term for what followed: the Israelites forgot God, and each time He sent a leader called a judge to remind them. But after the judge died, the Israelites went right back to worshipping the pagan gods of their neighbors.

Exodus 34 gives us the most accurate picture of God’s character, because God gives it Himself. He tells Moses that while He is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in faithful love, and forgiving of rebellion (vv.6–7), He’s also a jealous God, who wants our undivided devotion (v.13). God’s desire for HIs people’s affection is woven into His faithful love. God sent judge after judge, knowing all the while that His people would still fall away. Only one leader, only one judge, could turn His people’s hearts back to Him for good: Jesus.

It’s hard to read Judges without it feeling a little like I’m looking in a mirror. It’s not hard for me to remember seasons of my life when I drew closer to God’s heart and found in Him my all. But it is just as easy—maybe easier, if I’m honest—to remember seasons of the opposite, when I chased worldly fulfillment, idols, and false saviors.

God knew our hearts, broken by sin, would be prone to wander, and prone to wander they will be until His Kingdom comes in its fullness. We need not wander in the desert, though, following after imperfect and temporary leaders; we can follow Jesus. When we turn away from the lesser things of this world, and turn to Him, our faithful and final Judge, He promises to soften our hearts toward Him and His heavenly purposes. He welcomes us into relationship with Him and calls us His own (Ezekiel 11:19–20).

Melanie Rainer is a bookworm from birth who makes her days writing, editing and reading in Nashville, where she also joyfully serves as the editor of Kids Read Truth. She has an M.A. in Theological Studies from Covenant Seminary, spends as much time as she can in the kitchen, and can’t wait until her two daughters are old enough to read Anne of Green Gables.

Post Comments (77)

77 thoughts on "O Come, Faultless Judge"

  1. Ashley White says:

    This was so good and it really spoke to me. I had a season where I fell away from CHRIST and this really spoke to me. I’m in a season of striving to know Him more and grow closer to Him and trust 100% in Him.

    1. Morgan Anderson says:

      Love this, girl. Praying right now for the Lord to give you a deep desire for His word and to fall in love with Him more through it!

  2. Taylor Korn says:

    This reminded me of the beautiful hymn..

    “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love

    Take my heart, Lord, take and seal it. Seal it for thy courts above”

    So thankful to serve a God who knows all my shortcomings and still loves me fiercely. Amen

  3. Steph C says:

    Oh Father, this cycle of apostasy scares me. A time of repentance and genuine worship. Followed by a time of going through the motions because “it’s the right thing to do”. Followed by a time of not caring about You at all. Followed by a period of Your chastisement. And then repentance. And it begins again. Please keep my heart tender towards You! Let me worship You in Spirit and in Truth. Because I love You! And You have redeemed me. Oh God … keep me close to You! I don’t want to drift away.

  4. Kerry Terry says:

    Search me oh God and know my heart, search me and know my ways. See if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. I love you Lord! Thank you for staying with me even while I stray(ed).

  5. Cassie Schneider says:

    I went into this season of Advent with intentions of fully embracing our Lord and the birth of Christ while also focusing on making this Christmas and the weeks leading up to it special for my three young kids. I feel I’ve fallen short, missing a couple days of readings (as I’m catching up now), mass on Sunday, and having a poor attitude because of stresses at work. As I’m trying to re-center myself and come back from my wandering, this study brings me peace. I’m so grateful for what this has brought me today!

  6. Dani says:

    I’ve recently began a season where I’m earnestly seeking God out; it’s crazy to see how EASY it is to let the worldly things distract us from what/who really matters…God. I have begun pausing throughout my day to thank God for what he’s blessed me with.

    I can’t remember where I read it, but a few years ago I read that walking in the faith isn’t easy but Jesus never said it would be. And it’s so true! But real love isn’t easy, it’s something that we have to work at everyday!

  7. Churchmouse says:

    Mari, increasing my prayers for you. Praying that you are overwhelmed only by God’s great love and that all else settle down for you.

  8. Churchmouse says:

    Have added your prayer request for successful surgery and a lifting of your depression to my daily prayer journal, Dorothy. Praying you feel the healing power of the Great Physician especially on Friday.

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