Idolatry and Whoring After gods


Judges 2:16-23

16 Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them. 17 Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they whored after other gods and bowed down to them. They soon turned aside from the way in which their fathers had walked, who had obeyed the commandments of the Lord, and they did not do so. 18 Whenever the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge, and he saved them from 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 afflicted and oppressed them. 19 But whenever the judge died, they turned back and were more corrupt than their fathers, going after other gods, serving them and bowing down to them. They did not drop any of their practices or their stubborn ways. 20 So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he said, “Because this people have transgressed my covenant that I commanded their fathers and have not obeyed my voice, 21 I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations that Joshua left when he died, 22 in order to test Israel by them, whether they will take care to walk in the way of the Lord as their fathers did, or not.” 23 So the Lord left those nations, not driving them out quickly, and he did not give them into the hand of Joshua.

In the midst of Israel’s rebellion, God was gracious enough to raise judges who would help them get back on track with God. These judges were God’s reminder and agent to bring people back to worship. But even in the midst of judges, they chose to abhor and abandon God. The word that was used in this passage was that they whored after other gods. This was a strong word that was used to describe how Israel tried to worship other gods.

Tim Keller wrote, “When we serve an idol, we come into an intense relationship with it, within which it uses us, but does not truly care for us. We become completely vulnerable to it, little more than a slave to it.” Just like a prostitute, the relationship is transactional than relational.

KEYPOINT #1: When we serve idols, don’t expect a relationship, all you’ll get is a transaction.

During Israel’s rebellion, God continues to have pity over the people every time they groan and repent. This is a reassuring picture of how gracious our God is. No other God shows such emotion to a people who continue to rebel against Him.

KEYPOINT #2: Only the God of Scripture shows pity to a people who repent from their sin.

Yet again, when a judge dies, they became more corrupt than ever. And God’s judgment once again comes upon the nation.

Talk it over:

  1. What does the phrase they “whored after gods” mean to you?
  2. In the midst of sin, how can we live holy and not compromise?

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