The last few chapters of Judges do not tell the story of a particular judge. Instead they show the depths of depravity to which Israel had sunk through disobedience to God's commandments. The people of Israel had fallen to such a spiritual and moral low point that they saw no problem whatsoever in worshiping the Lord and pagan idols side by side.
Life in that society was not so different from life in our own postmodern, post-Christian, anything-goes society. These days, people avoid words like sin or disobedience. They prefer to justify their actions with phrases like, "Everybody does it," or, "The old rules don't apply anymore," or, "Times have changed." It's true that times have changed, and not for the better. But God hasn't changed. He still says to us, "You cannot receive blessings from Me while you live in disobedience. You can't have it both ways."
By faith, we surrender control of our lives to Him.
There is nothing in the world as futile as being religious yet lost, maintaining a form of religion but lacking in faith. If you think you can be a discerning believer without spending time with God—think again. If you think you can be a woman of God or a man of God without studying His Word—think again. If you think you can experience God's blessings without living in faithful obedience to Him—think again.
We seem to have lost the key to salvation, the key to the Good News of Jesus Christ, the key to healing from guilt, shame, and inadequacy. We seem to have lost our faith. By faith, we give our lives to God. By faith, we surrender control of our lives to Him. We do this not to impress God or to buy His favor but as an expression of gratitude to God for the salvation He freely gives us through Jesus Christ.
If you find yourself caught in the downward spiral of disobedience, if you are doing what is right in your own eyes rather than in God's, it's time to come home. God anguishes over His people and longs for them to love Him and trust Him. He longs for us to manifest a strong, obedient faith in Him. Come home. The one who loves you is waiting.
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for going through the motions and not surrendering control of my life to You, for not living in faithful obedience. I want to come home to You. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith" (1 John 5:3-4).