While gearing up for a study through the Book of Judges I was doing a review of the Bible up until Judges. I wanted to get a flavor of the historical context of the events, as well as the spiritual vibe of the people being written about. It doesn’t take long, whether reading Genesis through Joshua, or just Judges by itself, to see a pattern of people loosing faith in God. Not because of what God does or doesn’t do, but because of the people and their choices. This idea of trust or faith struck me in light of Genesis 2 and 3. It struck me because I’ve never seen these events in this light before. Maybe I’m just slow. (Some would say there ain’t no maybe about it!) What struck me in Genesis 2 and after is this; where there is faith, there is life and relationship with God. Where there is no faith, there is no life, there is death, and there is separation from God.
When God told Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, He told them that if they did that they would die. They wouldn’t die imemdiately, but literally it says “dying you shall die.” It was only the sixth day of creation when this happened. They didn’t know what death was. I’m sure it sounded bad, but they really didn’t know what death was. They hadn’t seen anything die yet, plant, animal, or human. They had to trust God. They had to take him at Him at His word. They had to put their faith in Him. As long as they did this they would live without dying. They would have perfect and unhindered relationship with Him. That is a beautiful thing. I’m still learning what that is for myself. The point is though that it begins with faith. Where there is faith there is life.
We don’t know how long it was until the events of Genesis 3 transpired but I can’t imagine it was too long after chapter 2. While Eve was tricked into it and Adam did it voluntarilly, they both decided to take their faith away from God and put it into the words of the Serpent. The result? Eventual death and a diminished relationship with God. Where there is no faith, there is no life.
Cain had no faith and was rejected by God.
The world left its faith in God, and all but 8 people died.
Abraham had faith in God and was the father of a nation. Life.
The nation lost its faith and they were slaves. Moses came with faith and the word of God, and they lived.
Again the nation had no faith when they got to the land, and only two who walked out of Egypt walked into the promised land some 40 years later.
Under Joshua the nation’s faith was like a yo-yo. Sometimes they won, sometimes they lost.
Joshua’s death is the opening of the book of Judges and the people ask God, “Now who’s going to lead us?” ingoring the obvious that God was their leader.
Judges covers a few hundred years of history and there is a pattern that emerges that is true in our lives today. It goes like this. Sin, servitude, suplication, salvation, and spiral. The people sin, they pay the price in servitude, they realize they screwed up and make suplication to God, God saves them, that generation dies off and the next one comes ups and sins, and the spiral repeats. Why? Because of a loss of or, at best, a lack of faith. Where there is faith, there is life. Where there is no faith, there is no life.
One question arrises that I won’t get into here. Is the reverse true? Where there is no life, there is no faith. Hm. Plug that into the equation of your own life, your own church, your own relationship with God and see what you come up with. Then get back to me on that.