Declaring Dependence

Are you faithful to God? If you consider yourself faithful, then what do you mean by “faithful”? Does that mean that your faith is so full that you are humbly submissive and eagerly obedient to your Creator?

Do you only serve God periodically, or during special times? Do you love and obey Him in good times and in bad times? Consider the following cycle of faithfulness/unfaithfulness in the early life of the Israelite nation:

Point #1: Failure (Judges 2:10-13).
Point #2: Fight/Fear (Judges 2:14-15).
Point #3: Freedom (Judges 2:16).
Point #4: Faithfulness (Judges 2:18b).

The people would cry out to God during their times of “terrible distress”, but they did not fully give up their idolatrous practices or their lack of real love for Yahweh (Judges 2:17-19). You will find this pattern or cycle repeated multiple times throughout the book of Judges.

Do we ever fall into a cycle of faithfulness/unfaithfulness? Is such a cycle even faithfulness at all?

What was the ultimate problem during this period of Israelite history? The answer is given four times in this book: Judges 17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21:5. The heart of the problem is often stated right before some horrible atrocity is described (see 18:1; 19:1). The very last verse of Judges explains, “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in their own eyes” (Judges 21:25).

But what does that mean? Is that simply a reference to the fact that there was no civil king like Saul or David sitting on a throne in the land?

The real problem was that Yahweh, who was their rightful king, was not king in their hearts and lives. They had rejected Him as their Sovereign Ruler (cf. 1 Samuel 8:1-9; 12:12; Luke 19:14). Yahweh had chosen them as a treasured nation for Himself, but now they had abandoned Him and His Word (cf. Deuteronomy 7:6-11; Judges 2:12-13).

Do we ever strive to be “good” so God will give us good things? Are we serving Him because of how great He is, or because of how great His blessings and promises are? Do we ever treat Him like a Genie in a bottle that we rub whenever we need something?

We should pray to God and seek His help in times of trouble (cf. 1 Peter 5:6-7), but we must be careful that we are not engaging in “mourning cloud religion.”

When times are good, some begin to think that they do not need God because they're doing just fine by their own abilities (cf. Revelation 3:17-19). When times are rough, some begin to think that they do not need God because He has not kept them from trouble and pain. Both of these forms of inconsistent faithfulness manifest a lack of dependence on and delight in God. Both forms of unfaithfulness declare, “I do not need/want God.”

So what is the solution to this problem of inconsistent service to God? The solution is making God king on the throne of our hearts (see again Judges 21:25). If we are in the reign of God by submission to immersion into the Messiah (Colossians 2:11-12), then we must live each day as loyal subjects in the kingdom of the Messiah. If King Jesus is sitting on the throne of our hearts, then we are declaring that we are totally dependent upon Him and His will.