Idolatry. That’s so Old Testament! After all, no one today worships something they put before God … oh. Well, maybe there’s money and materialism, success and sensuality, jobs and hobbies, food and entertainment. Perhaps the list could even extend into all the negative ways we seek to escape the stress of life instead of putting our trust in God.
What’s the reason the cycle of sin in the time of Judges as well as now continues to repeat in God’s people? What is it about idols that made them and us forsake God, so that they and us cry out for a deliverer?
I. Judges 10:6-16. God knew that mankind, if given the chance, would turn to other things than Him and so carved it into stone (Exodus 20). The foundation of idolatry is covetousness (Colossians 3:5). We are made in God’s image, but since we cannot control God, we strive to make God in ours. Instead of taking joy in being God’s chosen people, we compromise to become like everyone else. And then we become complacent because what we serve is not greater than ourselves.
II. Romans 1:15-16. How can the gospel break the cycle of sin. Our world of relative morality works to make us believe that sin and judgment aren’t real and so paves the way for idolatry. At times in Judges, God’s people would temporarily break the cycle by acknowledging their sin. We must be convinced that repentance is essential (Romans 2:2-5), judgment is real (Romans 14:10-12), and that the gospel is the solution (Romans 6:1-11).
III. Hebrews 7:22-25. But unlike God’s people of the time of Judges who would fall back into sin and idolatry when the judge died (Judges 2:16-19), we have a Judge, the perfect deliverer, who always lives to intercede for us. Therefore, once rescued from sin and death, we never need to go back into the life we once lived.
Christians, who know the power of the gospel, need to return to trusting God fully and not seek idols of their own fashioning.