There is a difference between crying out to the LORD and crying out to the LORD. Let me explain but let's first establish a few things about God and His relationship with His people through the account in the book of Judges.
god will respond with justice and judgment
In the book of Judges, did we see the above things take place with Israel? Well, after the death of Joshua, God’s people lose their way, and God had to raise judges to deliver His people from their enemies. But the people, God’s people “did not listen to their judges….” They choose to openly sin, and live a debauchery lifestyle. The book of Judges puts it this way. They choose to “played the harlot after other gods and bowed themselves down to them” (Judges 2:16-17). In other words, they prostituted, pimped themselves out to other gods, customs, celebrations, and things that were not of God. They celebrated the same things that the people of the nations were doing and abandoning any and everything God called them to give honor to or celebrate (remember).
Therefore, God could not continue to protect, bless, and show His people favor due to their behavior, their sin. Whenever God removes Himself from the midst of His people, this always leads to God turning His face away from them, removing His protective hands from upon them. Resulting in their enemies coming in and plundering them. Verse 14 says it this way. “… Then the anger of the LORD turns against Israel, and He (God) gave them (God’s people – the Israelites) into the hands of the plunderers (God’s people enemies) …. Why? Because of their actions, their behaviors, their sins, their disobedience.
Like it or not. This is God’s way, His justice when we are completely in the wrong and refuses to repent, refuses to turn away from our, not His, but our wicked ways. When we refuse to listen to the voices of His chosen vessels. When we choose to outright disobey the commandments of the LORD – breaking our covenant individually, as a family, as a congregation, or as a nation with the LORD. God will respond with justice and judgment (Judges 2:14-15).
God raISes judges
The purpose of God’s judges was to deliver His people from those who plundered them. But the problem became for Israel was this.
Vicious cycle of sin
This is a good place to talk about my opening statement. “There is a difference between crying out to the LORD and crying out to the LORD.”
Let’s turn to Judges chapter 6, verse 6. As we read Judges chapter 6, we see God’s people, the Israelites, fall back into their vicious sin cycle. It says in verse 1, “… the sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD.” Of course, this eventually leads to God’s judgment upon His people, which leads to the Midian plundering everything they had for seven years (Judges 6:1-5). So, what did the Israelites do? After much persecution, they begin to cry out to the LORD to deliver them from the hands of their enemy the Midianites. But here is the problem with their outcry.
The reason why they keep recycling into old sinful habits, behaviors, customs, traditions, and practices – make sure you get this. THEIR CRIES WASN’T ONE OF REPENTANCE. No. They were not truly repenting from the heart to God. (Compare to Psalm 51:17). They just wanted the persecution, the oppression by their enemies to stop. Their cries to the LORD were due to their anguish toward the Midianites and what the Midian were doing to God’s people. They were not crying out to God because they truly realize they have sinned against a mighty and just God. (Compare to 2 Corinthians13:5). They were mad and fed up with their poverty-stricken state, their losses, their insecurities, and their life of normalcy being taking away. They wanted to go back to what was normal. Therefore, they wanted God to put an end to the Midianites' tyranny. Because the condition and the position of their hearts were not right, God had to remind them of why they were in the situation they were in the first place. Was it because He had failed them or because He was incapable of protecting and taking care of His people? Certainly not! Their condition, their plight was the way it was with the Midianites because of their own historical records, their own accounts, their own deeds, their own actions. (See Judges 6:8-10).
What can we learn
Simply put. We all are no different from the Israelites. We constantly recycle old sinful habits, behaviors, practices, worldly celebrations, and customs. Serving and worshipping all kinds of false gods and idols and altars by being part of such things of the world that God has not called us to do. We change the names of many of these customs and practices and habits and behaviors and worldly celebrations and customs in order to make them seem to be more acceptable to the LORD. Yet, not one of these things can be found in the Old nor the New Testament of God’s Word. Other than being linked to the historical records of such gods as Baal or Asherah, etc., in some form or way. We simply glazed over these matters as if they are small and do not matter to a Living and Mighty God who calls for complete obedience and exclusive worship.
Yet, we the people, are choosing to mix the ways of the world with our worship of God, in order to fit in with a pagan society and call it exclusive worship. How cynical.
We have forsaken our first love and call evil good and good evil. And yet, God, out of His love, grace, and mercy, raises voices that speak about such matters from the throne of God – from His nature and His heart so that His people can be delivered. And yet, just like the Israelites in the book of Judges, God’s chosen people. Today, God’s people will not listen to His voices. Instead, they continue to do what is right in his or her own eyes. Resulting in God’s people sinning to a point of no return and provoking God’s anger. And therefore, in His righteous anger, He must respond. He must shake His house. And what does not or no longer belongs must fall out. But what is sorrowful from the heart, will remain.
THE LORD HAS SPOKEN HIS FINAL DECREE.
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The word of the lord
When the LORD God gives a word, it is for the sole purpose to teach, reproof, correct, or train His servants - His Body, so that every member within the Body of Christ may be adequate, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). For the LORD has given the Body of Christ apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers to equip the Saints for the work of service, to encourage one another, and to build up the Body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-12; 1 Thessalonians 5:11).