Judges 6:1-10

(Judges 6‑8)


The word of God reaching the conscience

In spite of all the blessings enumerated in Judges 5, Israel very soon relapsed into evil ways and forsook Jehovah. By way of chastisement for this unfaithfulness, God delivered them into the hands of the Midianites. The people passed through all the phases of misery (material for them - moral for the church) which invariably follow going after the world and forsaking God. Under Jabin, Israel was without arms (Judges 5: 8); under the yoke of Midian he was famished - the consequence of our unfaithfulness, from which we always suffer when we seek our portion with the world. It drags us down and takes away our arms, our strength leaves us, and we lose every means of withstanding; not only so, but the very sources of existence are also lacking, for the world never affords nourishment to any one, and we perceive it by the barrenness which invades the soul, when, in our folly, we leave the marrow and fatness of the house of God for the harvests which are merely a mirage of the desert. This was the experience of Israel; Midian "left no sustenance" for him (v. 4).

Then in his misery Israel cried unto Jehovah. He responded, and wrought a fresh revival, in which He sought to probe, more deeply than in the past, the conscience of this poor people. It is interesting to see the way the Lord took to bring about this result. "Jehovah sent a prophet unto the children of Israel." His name is not given, nor does it matter, for this man was simply the bearer of the word of God, in order to bring the people into His presence. God has a means by which to bless us: His word, which meets every requirement and ought to be quite sufficient for us. Ps. 119 shows us the marvellous part the word plays in the life of the faithful. This psalm exceeds all the others in length. The word of God ought to occupy a corresponding place in our lives. Do we appreciate its value? Does it fill up our days and nights - our thoughts, more or less, when we have not time to sit down and meditate upon it?

God applied, in a way full of grace (vs. 8‑10), this word to the conscience of the Israelites, telling them all that He had done for them; how He had led them out, given them deliverance and victory, and brought them in; and, having unfolded before them all His goodness, He adds one word: "But ye have not obeyed My voice." Not a word as to how they might be delivered; He did not yet open the way for their return to Him. The prophet disappeared, leaving them under the weight of their responsibility in the presence of grace. God had borne them in His arms and upon His heart; He had been to them a cloud of fire and of darkness (Ex. 13: 21, 22; Ex. 14: 20); He had fought for them. Have I failed, said He, in any respect towards you; but what have you done? This silence was calculated to touch their conscience farmore than any reproaches. They were impressed, if not convicted; but the word of grace did not yet give to the unfaithful people what they needed. Israel continued powerless before the enemy.