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Israel's trials after Joshua died

Destruction or Jerusalem-painting
Destruction or Jerusalem-painting
LaVista church of Christ

Even though numerous Bible students have read, time and again, the books of Judges, Kings, and the various prophets of the Old Testament, seldom do we read comments of the nation of Israel entered and took the land of Canaan under the leadership of Joshua following Moses death. But we should all study those things which will give us a clearer understanding of God's tolerance and His intolerance of His chosen people.

The first eight verses of judges chapter 2, describes how things began for them; Read this carefully and thoughtfully: Pay particular attention to the emphasized portion

"And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you. And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this? Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you. And it came to pass, when the angel of the LORD spake these words unto all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voice, and wept. And they called the name of that place Bochim: and they sacrificed there unto the LORD. And when Joshua had let the people go, the children of Israel went every man unto his inheritance to possess the land. And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD, that he did for Israel. And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old." (Judges 2:1-8 KJV)

As God had predicted, the Canaanites who were left did indeed lead the Israelites astray. Texts following tells of their going astray, which was the first of many times they would in the future, until eventually all were taken captive and were in subjection to Rome at the time of Jesus’ birth. Chapter 3 of Judges tells the story of the first two judges who were raised up by God to lead them back into obedience to Him.

Read here first the description of those peoples who were left as thorns in Israel’s side:

"Now these are the nations which the LORD left, to prove Israel by them, even as many of Israel as had not known all the wars of Canaan; Only that the generations of the children of Israel might know, to teach them war, at the least such as before knew nothing thereof; Namely, five lords of the Philistines, and all the Canaanites, and the Sidonians, and the Hivites that dwelt in mount Lebanon, from mount Baalhermon unto the entering in of Hamath. And they were to prove Israel by them, to know whether they would hearken unto the commandments of the LORD, which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses. And the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, Hittites, and Amorites, and Perizzites, and Hivites, and Jebusites: And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods. And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgat the LORD their God, and served Baalim and the groves." (Judges 3:1-7 KJV)

From this day onward, the condition of the Israelites in God’s sight was as a roller-coaster. They would leave God for false gods and God would allow their enemies to overrun and make them subjects ro them. And so it was at this point, He was angry with them and allowed King Chushanrishathaim of Mesopotamia to subdue them and cause them to serve him. And after eight years, they realized what they had done and cried out to God for His mercy and to help them to be free again.

"And when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer to the children of Israel, who delivered them, even Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother. And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war: and the LORD delivered Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushanrishathaim. And the land had rest forty years. And Othniel the son of Kenaz died." (Judges 3:9-11 KJV)

After the death of Othniel, the Israelites again began to do evil in the sight of the Lord and once more, God strengthened King Eglon of Moab against them. Eglon got the children of Ammon and Amalek to help and overran Israel and captured them. They served Eglon for 18 years and again began to cry unto the Lord. And God brought up Ehud, whose story is one of amazement. Read how the Lord used him single handedly to eliminate the evil king Eglon. This is a fairly long quote, but take the time to read it carefully.

"But when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, the LORD raised them up a deliverer, Ehud the son of Gera, a Benjamite, a man lefthanded: and by him the children of Israel sent a present unto Eglon the king of Moab. But Ehud made him a dagger which had two edges, of a cubit length; and he did gird it under his raiment upon his right thigh. And he brought the present unto Eglon king of Moab: and Eglon was a very fat man. And when he had made an end to offer the present, he sent away the people that bare the present. But he himself turned again from the quarries that were by Gilgal, and said, I have a secret errand unto thee, O king: who said, Keep silence. And all that stood by him went out from him. And Ehud came unto him; and he was sitting in a summer parlour, which he had for himself alone. And Ehud said, I have a message from God unto thee. And he arose out of his seat. And Ehud put forth his left hand, and took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly: And the haft also went in after the blade; and the fat closed upon the blade, so that he could not draw the dagger out of his belly; and the dirt came out. Then Ehud went forth through the porch, and shut the doors of the parlour upon him, and locked them. When he was gone out, his servants came; and when they saw that, behold, the doors of the parlour were locked, they said, Surely he covereth his feet in his summer chamber. And they tarried till they were ashamed: and, behold, he opened not the doors of the parlour; therefore they took a key, and opened them: and, behold, their lord was fallen down dead on the earth. And Ehud escaped while they tarried, and passed beyond the quarries, and escaped unto Seirath. And it came to pass, when he was come, that he blew a trumpet in the mountain of Ephraim, and the children of Israel went down with him from the mount, and he before them. And he said unto them, Follow after me: for the LORD hath delivered your enemies the Moabites into your hand. And they went down after him, and took the fords of Jordan toward Moab, and suffered not a man to pass over. And they slew of Moab at that time about ten thousand men, all lusty, and all men of valour; and there escaped not a man. So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land had rest fourscore years." (Judges 3:15-30 KJV)

Remember, that this was early in the time of Israel having been in the promised land of Canaan, but they continued their rebellious attitudes towards God as those above show, and God was long suffering with them. They were sent judges, prophets and later kings as they had demanded, to lead them. Some were good, more were evil and their conduct finally tempted God too far and he allowed them all to be taken into captivity where they finally remained under Roman rule until, and even after, the birth of Jesus and then to their final termination with the destruction of Jerusalem.

They, as do people today, continued to ignore God's pleading even unto the elimination. Although, there is yet a nation called Israel. They no longer enjoy the title of being God's chosen people. They were only chosen as those to furnish the lineage to Jesus Christ, who then brought an entirely new law which broke down the middle wall of partition between Jew and Gentile and grace was extended to all who would accept it by faith and obedience in Christ. (Ephesians 2:18)

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