Judges 10: 10-16 10 Then the Israelites cried out to the LORD, “We have sinned against you, forsaking our God and serving the Baals.” 11 The LORD replied, “When the Egyptians, the Amorites, the Ammonites, the Philistines, 12 the Sidonians, the Amalekites and the Maonites oppressed you and you cried to me for help, did I not save you from their hands? 13 But you have forsaken me and served other gods, so I will no longer save you. 14 Go and cry out to the gods you have chosen. Let them save you when you are in trouble!” 15 But the Israelites said to the LORD, “We have sinned. Do with us whatever you think best, but please rescue us now.” 16 Then they got rid of the foreign gods among them and served the LORD. And he could bear Israel’s misery no longer.
Do you ever wonder if God gets frustrated with humanity? We know that God is love, but how does He put up with us? Today, we need look no further than Judges chapter 10. The shocking news in today’s passage is the Israel ONCE AGAIN turned away from God and did evil. They thought it would be a good idea to serve inanimate objects rather than the real, living God. Then they come to God like a 25 cent gum-ball machine. “Okay, God help us now. We put in our 25 cent prayer, now dispense the gum-ball. Come save us.” At this point, it seems that God has had it up to here and says, “nah, that’s okay – I’m good. Why don’t you just ask all those fake gods to save you?”
Now this is an unexpected response from God, isn’t it? Isn’t He supposed to forgive all the time, no matter what? Look, God is about relationship. He is about us pursuing Him with our lives. So Old Testament, New Testament, whatever… He doesn’t want to be treated as a doormat. He can quite easily examine our motives, for He sees the heart, not just the words. So when, like the Israelites, we cry out with an insincere plea for a bailout, something tells me God might not be that interested. And so He responds like He did to the Israelites. “Haven’t you already chosen who you will serve? You certainly didn’t choose me.” And I think it would probably get pretty frustrating having people ask you for all the benefits and blessings without doing their part.
But God still loves. He did help them once He saw that they were sincere. They got desperate and got rid of all the garbage in their lives. How much like them are we? We want to hang on to all the garbage and still receive all the blessing. We justify our sins and then gorge ourselves on grace, because God has to give it to us. We want God to help us on our terms. And so we have a world that believes that He is some mean God who gets off on sending good people to Hell. That’s not the case at all. Rather, He lets people live and die with their choice of “god.” Why would a loving God force Himself on us as if we were some kind of slave? He doesn’t. He says choose me. Choose me with your heart and choose me with your actions. That’s all He really wanted from the Israelites in Judges 10 – He wanted them to live with their choice. So when they did choose Him, He was there to rescue. Because that’s the kind of God He is.