As we’ve been following the Israelites in their exodus, wanderings and their battles, one thing is very clear: when their eyes are on God, their life makes sense; when their eyes are on their desires and passions, their life is in disarray. Their attitude is summed up in Hebrews 5:11. Paul tells his readers that they no longer try to understand what God wants for them to grow. In fact, he says they are dull of hearing. In Greek, this word means “ignorant.” It’s not that they didn’t hear what God wanted, but they said, “Big deal. I don’t care what you have to say. I’d rather listen to myself and keep my eyes on everything the world has to offer me.”
When the Israelites forgot God, they started to do what they wanted to do. And this happened to always be evil in God’s eyes. And since God had told them what the consequence would be, they were always disciplined. For years and years they would be in bondage to their enemies. Finally, they would acknowledge their need for rescuing and would cry out to God in repentance for what they did. God in His great compassion would provide a savior through a judge of Israel. They would be saved and would “hear” from God again with ears that are open and eyes focused squarely on Him. Though life would be in order again, they neglected to tell their children about God, His standards, and His love. When the judge and their parents died, the kids did evil themselves and so the cycle continued for many, many decades.
I’m afraid that we are so similar. Things go well for us and then we start to lose sight of God because we don’t “need” Him as much. We start walking further away from Him and when problems come our way, we cry out to Him. Thankfully, He is always faithful and unchanging and once again shines a light onto the path back to His side. As you read chapter 8 on the Judges, I encourage you to ask God to help you to have ears to hear and eyes focused solely on Him.