Judges 2:11-15 (click here)
And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and served the Baals. And they abandoned the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed down to them. And they provoked the LORD to anger. (Judges 2:11-12)
There I was. Caught red-handed.
Well ok… I don’t know if the paint on my hand was actually red, but there was no denying I was responsible for every ounce of paint splattered all over myself and the back porch. It basically looked like I had decided to try and juggle the paint can. How did I end up in such a colossal mess? Well, it didn’t happen all at once.
My mother was painting the back porch… I was watching, or playing, or doing whatever I did when I was roughly three-years-old.
She needed to go inside for something and left me alone with strict instructions not to touch anything. Her mistake. It wasn’t long before I was pawing at a screwdriver she’d left lying on the floor. I was just poking at it… no big deal.
Then I was picking it up. Then I was pretending it was a sword. Then I was dropping it… right into the paint can.
No problem… I can fix this… I’ll just reach right into the paint can and pull out the screwdriver. But what’s this? A new problem has developed because now my hand is covered in paint! Well, I’ll just shake it off! When all of a sudden…
Enter the mother!
And one small step of disobedience at a time turned into a slippery slide of rebellion that got all over everything.
This is what happened to Israel at the beginning of the book of Judges. When we read that they “did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and served the Baals,” we mustn’t imagine that happened overnight.
No one wakes up and thinks… today I’ll try idolatry!
No… the slippery slide into that rebellion happens one small step of disobedience at a time. For the people of Israel, it began by not completely clearing the promised land of its former pagan inhabitants as God had told them to do. As a result, they lived surrounded by the gods of other peoples.
These gods became normal to them… and then enticing… and before they knew it… the “paint” of idolatry was splattered all over everything.
This is how it happened to them… and this is how it happens to us… one small step of disobedience at a time. And so we pray today, “God guard our steps! Keep us by your power! Light our way with your word and establish our steps! Bring us all the way home so that you get all the glory!”
“Now to HIM who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” (Jude 24-25)