David Wilkerson – Tearing Down The Altar of Baal | Must Watch
Note carefully the opening verse of Judges 6: “And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord: and the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years” (Judges 6:1). These words describe an endless cycle that repeated itself in Israel for generations.
Throughout the preceding chapters, we find these words repeated again and again. They read, in essence, “And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim…and God, in his hot anger, sold them into the hand of their enemies.”
The first instance occurs in chapter 3. We’re told, “The land had rest forty years…and the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord” (3:11-12). God gave his people over to an enemy, Moab, “because they had done evil in the sight of the Lord” (3:12). And Israel served this heathen enemy for eighteen years, enduring hardship and terror.
Then, in chapter 4, we read, “And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord…and the Lord sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan” (4:1-2). This time God’s people were made captive by the Canaanites.
Of course, every time Israel was enslaved, they cried out to God. And each time, the Lord was faithful to send them a deliverer. But as soon as that righteous leader died, the people predictably returned to their sin. And the whole cycle began all over again. It continues with our text verse, in chapter 6: “And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord: and the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years” (6:1).
During this period, Israel was continually brought low by their enemy Midian. Like clockwork, the Midianites raided Israel each year, plundering their crops and goods. Midian’s caravan leaders would release all their camels and livestock into Israel’s fields to graze. And the beasts completely devoured the crops, sweeping through the fields like locusts.
Whenever Israel resisted, the Midianites drove them into the hills and mountains. God’s people ended up seeking refuge in caves and dens, and having to scavenge for food. “And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites” (6:6). Israel lost everything to their enemy: their houses, their food, their goods. They lived like paupers, homeless and bereft.
Once again, Scripture says, “The children of Israel cried unto the Lord” (6:6). Yet this cry wasn’t one of repentance. Israel cried because of their oppression by the Midianites. It was a cry of anguish, due to their poverty, their losses, their insecurity.
This time, before God sent a deliverer to Israel, he sent a prophet. This man of God put his finger on the reason the people were being so harassed. He pointed out, “Look at your history. In each case, God delivered you out of the hands of all who oppressed you. He brought you out of bondage in Egypt. And he told you not to fear the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But you haven’t obeyed him. You still pay homage to false gods” (see 6:8-10).
The Lord was telling his people, in essence, “I made it clear to you from the very beginning: you are not to fear anyone but your heavenly Father. Let no other fear enter your heart. But you’ve disobeyed me once again. You’ve allowed all kinds of fears to enter in. And you’ve forced me to hand you over to your enemy, to drive you back to myself.”
What was this great evil that Israel kept falling back into, over and over?
The prophet showed Israel clearly what their sin was: they forgot the Lord’s command not to fear the gods of this world. In Judges 10, we see God’s people admitting to this sin: “The children of Israel cried unto the Lord, saying, We have sinned against thee, both because we have forsaken our God, and also served Baalim” (Judges 10:10).
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