An angel reminds the Israelites that abstaining from conquering their inherited lands is not just strategic folly, but also a violation of their covenant with God. The angel reprimands them in Bethel. He conveys the message that since the tribes have failed to fulfill their part, God is now exempt from protecting them. Personal effort is a prerequisite for the fulfillment of any divine promise.
After Joshua’s death, a new generation emerges that did not have the privilege of meeting him or Moses. They quickly abandon the divine law and indulge in idolatry. Although God allows the Israelites’ enemies to emerge victorious, He also shows compassion and prevents their complete obliteration. God appoints judges to save the Israelites from total destruction. The crushing losses experienced by this new generation are intended to rattle them. Defeat must always be regarded as an opportunity and a gift. Only by experiencing crises can we awaken and improve ourselves.
“And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice” (Judges 2:2)
“Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them ou(t from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you” (Judges 2:3)
“and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD…” (Judges 2:10)
“And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth” (Judges 2:13)
Whether from teachers or experience, the lessons we learn guide us toward leading a masterful life.