When I was a boy I went to the Texas State Fair in Dallas with my FFA class at school. Not long after I arrived I got on a ride that went around and around and around. Finally the thing slowed down and pulled to a stop. Then just as suddenly it started up going backward and very fast. The only thought that held me together was that I knew I had paid for this ride and sooner or later the operator would want some other fool to take my place. I was finally able to stagger off and find the nearest empty park bench and assume the posture of one who didn't have much money and even less sense.
In the first few chapters of the book of Judges the people of Israel are on a ride of their own. The only difference is they could stop it at any time. They however, chose to pay and ride and pay and ride.
They were doing exactly what God had said they would do. They were becoming rebellious. Moses had warned them. Joshua had warned them. But they always maintained that they would never become what they were indeed becoming.
They had been given houses they didn't build, vineyards they didn't plant and victories they didn't win. They were told to destroy the enemy or the enemy would destroy them. There was to be no truce, no compromise, no accord and no enemy left in the land.
At first they tolerated the enemy by living among them. Then they put the enemy to work by making them servants. Then they made marriages with the enemy. At last they were put to service for the enemy, worshiped the gods of the enemy and even plundered by the enemy. What a sad state of affairs.
When they had been made thoroughly sick of the ride they cried out to God and He would send a leader to bring them out of bondage and back to their rightful Master and Owner. The leaders were also called judges. They were to be the ones that pointed out the right and straight path.
The problem was that this series of events happened over and over and over again. When one generation was cried out to God for deliverance their children after them went back on the same ride. Every time God proved Himself to be faithful. He never abandoned them. He always lovingly and thoughtfully put them back on the right track time and time again.
But just look at how much time and effort was wasted. Look how many lives were lost. Look how many blessings were laid aside and never realized. Look how much shame and disgrace had to be endured. All because the people would not believe their God.
Does this remind you of someone you know? Maybe the person in the mirror? Are you the one on the hamster wheel? Do you want off? Or are you content like that?
Jesus said" Come unto me, all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me for I am meek and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your soul." That my friend, is what we need.