The Israelites then did what is evil in Yahweh’s eyes and served the Baals. They deserted Yahweh, God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt, and they followed other gods, from those of the surrounding peoples. They bowed down to these; they provoked Yahweh; they deserted Yahweh to serve Baal and Astartes. Then Yahweh’s anger grew hot against Israel.
He handed them over to pillagers who plundered them; he delivered them to the enemies surrounding them, and they were no longer able to resist their enemies. Whenever they mounted an expedition, Yahweh’s hand was there to foil them, as Yahweh had told them and as Yahweh had sworn to them, so that they were in dire distress.Yahweh then appointed them judges, who rescued them from the hands of their plunderers. But even to their judges they refused to listen. They prostituted themselves to other gods and bowed down before these. Very quickly they left the path which their ancestors had trodden in obedience to the orders of Yahweh; they did not follow their example. When Yahweh appointed judges for them, Yahweh was with the judge and rescued them from the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived, since Yahweh relented at their groans under their persecutors and oppressors. But once the judge was dead, they relapsed into even worse corruption than their ancestors. They followed other gods; they served them and bowed before them and would not give up the practices and stubborn ways of their ancestors at all.
Sacred Scripture does not leave us in the unknown of the crucial things of life, nor does it conceal the abysses of human existence. The infinite and loving mercy of God is opposed to the endangered man, who becomes unfaithful to the ways of God.
Many of the people of Israel did not remain in the guidance of God, which they had received so wonderfully and which they had freed from the slave house of Egypt. None of them could say that this had not happened, for the history of God with them was passed down from generation to generation and was part of the basic experience of the Israelites.
But they did not remain constant, the gaze and the heart turned away from God, and they fell into the idolatry of the other peoples that dwelt around them. The demons that hid behind the Baal and the Astartes led them astray, and drew them into their own rebellion against God.
The Lord made them feel the consequences of their apostasy from God, and
the previously victorious struggles of the Israelites were lost. They should now learn through need to return to God.
To their help, the Lord then appointed judges, and while they lived, they saved the people from their enemies. But even this aid was not permanent. They did not change the mind of their hearts, so that as soon as the judge died, they fell into disobedience again, and stood against the Lord.
The text invites us to reflect on it also for our time and to receive the serious message contained therein. We like to speak of God’s mercy in our Church today, and for sure how wonderful is this message that the infinite God bows to us in mercy and is always ready to forgive. That is what we also have heard in today’s text. The Lord had compassion for the stubborn people, and therefore sent them judges to save the people.
But as is clear from today’s text, the Lord expects the people to repent, to leave the wrong ways.
Mercy cannot mean that sin experiences any relativization, but that the Lord, in his love and patience, waits for the right answer, namely to repent of the wrong ways and the serious will to change oneself.
Mercy is therefore incomprehensible without truth, for only if the ways of man are true, that is, in accordance with the will of God, then man moves in the grace of God, which saves him.
Mercy is therefore God’s constant loving bowing to the weak, needy, and sinful man to lead him to Himself so that he may attain salvation.
From this perspective, God’s admission that man perceives the consequences of his transgressions is also an act of mercy. It is important that man wakes up through painful experiences and leaves the wrong paths, and does not remain in lies and errors, however tempting.
If we look at today’s text, it is entirely appropriate to ask how the present relationship of the people of God with God is to be seen. By the People of God I mean those who have heard the message of Christ and had been baptized and are incorporated into the body of Christ.
What are the modern idols, today’s Baal service and the devotion to Astarte?
Have we, as Christians, remained faithful to the message entrusted to us? How does the Lord look at us? How does he look at it if we no longer call sin a sin, if we are no longer obedient to the true doctrine of the Church, if we compromise with the spirit of this world, if false doctrines spread, if we let New Age thoughts enter the Church, when the paper for the coming Amazon Synod hardly reveals Catholic thought!
What idols are we dealing with?
They are the same demons that led the people of Israel to apostasy, they are the same spirits who want to cause confusion and to separate the Christian people from God.
At that time, God sent judges to save Israel.
How many shepherds still have the clear position, who are not afraid of the spirit of this world and who still proclaim the Catholic faith without compromise?
Is the current confusion in the Church not a fruit of many errors in the field of theology that have not been corrected, aberrations and banalization of the liturgy, which are often tolerated or even encouraged, aberrations in moral doctrine, moral aberrations, weakening the Christian message, trying to replace human thought with God’s instructions, only to name a few derailments.
Who is the Lord sending today to protect the people from anti-Christian