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. Ann says:

    Praying for our generation and the generations that follow up. I have been so burdened for all the generations of our family. Unfortunately so many of us have not been faithful to teaching our children, we have compromised and combined households and families against God’s way just like they did before Judges 2. Now we have children and nieces and nephews and their families who have not given their hearts to Jesus and now living without a Savior. I have been so burdened for our families! God help us and the generations who are coming after us to turn their hearts to Jesus!

  2. Jennifer McElhannon says:

    This is a devotional that definitely hits me hard and hurts! We have all gone like sheep and wandered astray, but we can rest assured that Christ will lead us back. Remember, he leaves the 99 for the ONE. If even one of us screws up, He is there to guide us and to give us provision.

    It’s so easy for me to not rely on God when times seem to be going okay. And it never fails that when I do, I see my life start to unravel. I’ve recently gotten married and my husband and I have made a conscious effort that we are going to be reading our bibles from cover to cover, do a couple’s devotional, and we each have our own personal devotional (I added this advent to my personal devotional…that’s why I am behind!). There are some days where it’s a struggle or like pulling my husband’s teeth to remind him that we have a couple’s devotional and we need to stay on track with our daily reading!!

    And I know that it’s all from Satan when we get behind a day. And it never fails that on days we fall behind, we bicker just a little bit. It’s starts with something small, something that you can sweep under the table until it becomes insurmountable. This is why it’s so important to make God the center of your life and the center of your marriage if you’re married. Making Him your number one priority is the key—it keeps us from backsliding.

    Keep the faith. Stand strong. And know that God is and always will be.

  3. Stephanie Harford says:

    The cycle of apostasy. Oh boy, I’ve had my fair share of that! I am reminded of God’s grace one day and like clock work the very next day I’ve thrown it out the window, leaving it to the wind, and completely forgetting about the loving words that were just spoken over me. Why do I do that? And why is it so hard to remember God’s love? One day I realized it’s because every day is a battle. We are in spiritual warfare, ladies! The devil is craftily using our sinful natures to draw us further away from God. We need to be disciplined, not in a legalistic sense, but in our desperation for a saving grace we must discipline ourselves to open the word daily, put on the armor of God, and lean upon the power of the Lord. And praise God that He is a righteous judge! Because of Christ’s sacrifice He does not judge us by our outward actions, but by the heart. We are saved by grace through faith alone. Faith is the only thing that can please the Lord, even if it’s just a mustard-seed-sized amount.

  4. Tiffany Taylor says:

    Whenever the judge died, the Israelites would act even more corruptly than their fathers, following other gods to serve them and bow in worship to them

    1. Tiffany Taylor says:

      How wonderful it is to have an Eternal Judge who never dies and lives to make intercession for us to have integrity of heart and a new spirit so that we are brought back into the saving power of the Father when we wander!!!

  5. Carly Davis says:

    Thank You Jesus for knowing and having compassion on our weak human hearts!! Your grace is sufficient for even me, even my wandering, fickle soul, and I am so incredibly grateful!

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