Making the Right Life Decisions

Judges 2:1-5

C. The Severe Response of God (Judges 2:3)

'The Severe Response of God' in its discussion of Judges 2:3 shows the powerful biblical 'thorn' principle of Christian living. If we do not understand God's discipline, then we will never be able to grow. This is part '3/5' of the Life Commentary series on Judges 2:1-5 entitled 'Making the Right Life Decisions' which describes how how our present decisions shape our future lives. A full index including a Bible study on Judges 2:1-5 is at the bottom.

C. The Severe Response of God (Judges 2:3)

“Therefore I also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; but they shall become as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare to you.’” (Judges 2:3).

 The Lord is quite clear here on how He deals with His people who tolerate anything less than a whole-hearted passion for His ways. It might seem contradictory to us. We need to look into this. But for sure, whether in the Old Testament or New Testament, God deals with us the same.

How do we expect the Lord to deal with us? We would think that God would greatly bless every Christian in such a way that the world would want to be a Christian too. Some flagrant preachers try to show off their wealth so that they can get others to want to be rich like them and know God. This is a sham. They worship Mammon, not the Creator. We worship the God of blessings not the blessings themselves.

God does not equally bless all of His children. Instead, we find that God actually holds back his blessings. Now we must remember that He will hold back certain blessings for different reasons. Job’s friends made a colossal misjudgment because they were not careful discerning what the problem was. And to be honest, it is hard to know what God is doing in another’s life. In John 15 it tells us that God prunes the faithful ones. He wants them to produce more fruit. This is different than what we see here in Judges 2. Here in verse 3 the Lord Himself guarantees that their enemies will become ‘thorns in your sides and their gods to be a snare to you.’ They were not bearing fruit, and God wanted them to bear more fruit. Not at all.

God brings thorns as consequences into the lives of the disobedient.I like you have seen a spoiled child grow up. The child didn’t respect the parent, and the parent was upset with the child. But now the child is getting close to getting his or her driving license. The parent thinks that giving the child a nice car will win respect. This parent is totally deluded. The child will despise his parents even more. When parents have wealth, they think they can win the child’s heart through making the right purchases. This is not what the Lord does. He does the opposite. God chastises those whom He loves.

In other words, God will not reward you for your disrespectful attitude. If you have been disobeying Him, then a comfortable life would cause you to think that your disobedience would not make much difference. But the Lord would rather make the enemy strong so that He could teach us a lesson and draw us from our disobedience. By completely eliminating the enemy, we would become deluded in our comfortable situation. God’s greatest goal is to make us close to Him and from that relationship find blessings. The Lord wants our devotion.

Comforts in life are not the joy of life. Without a full commitment to God, we cannot have His joy. God wants these things for us– a great marriage, good children, good job, great service, but He will make it hard for us if we do not obey Him. The majority of diseases that people face are a result of their sins. Immorality is sin. Disobedience to our parents is sin. Lying is sin. Anxiety is sin. It shows that we are not trusting in the Lord. And if we persist in worrying, we will end up with one or more of the many side affects. Are you taking medication for things? I am not saying that you shouldn’t be, but have you ever thought why you need it? Is it because you have not forgiven someone. Without forgiving another, you live without God’s grace. This bitter state builds up problems in our bodies. Jesus said,

“For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. “But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions. (Matthew 6:14, 15, NASB).


Do you feel thorns in your life? Something is not right? Things are working against you? Have you checked out your life to see if you are being fully obedient? Have you paused lately and seen whether the Lord wants you to do something specific? Let’s do that now. It is not hard. But if we run so hard in life and constantly keep distractions in front of our eyes and our ears filled with iPod earplugs, then we will not hear Him. Perhaps this is deliberate. Maybe we don’t want to hear Him. Is this possible?

Let us pause now. What is the Lord want for your life? Whatever He puts before your mind, do it. Make sure it is within the bounds of scripture. Sometimes we do not make the connection of a certain relationship problem with our disobedience. Maybe we should not be seeing that person. Maybe we have issue of pride or jealousy..

The good thing is that when we begin to do all that our Lord wants, then those enemies and problems that exist because of our sin quickly disappear. This is true if we do not give a percentage of our wealth to the Lord, forgive people, worry about things, indulge our flesh with food, play with pornography or neglect a host of things that the Lord said is important.

We know what happens when a person steps over a cliff. He falls. A law of gravity dictates that he will descend with increasing speed. Judges 2:3 gives us a law of Christian life. If we disobey the Lord in anything, then there is a consequence that will arise. These consequences are designed so that we will refrain from doing the wrong thing, turn about, confess our sins and do what is right. It is then that the Lord will restore our lives from the impact of the enemies and the resulting thorns.

The next time you have a conflict with a boss, or a spouse or parent, don’t react defensively. The situation might have arisen because you did not faithfully do what the Lord wanted. God might just be using another person to chasten you. => Next

Making the Right Life Decision (Judges 2:1-5)

General Judges Articles

Making the Right Life Decisions (Judges 2:1-5)
Judges 2:1: Intro/A. The Gracious Promises of God
Judges 2:2: B. Exacting Requirements of the Covenant
Judges 2:3: C. The Severe Response of God
Judges 2:4-5: D. The Superficial Response of the People
Judges 2:1-5: Bible Study Questions
Striving for Moral Purity - The Big Race : Overcoming Sensual Lusts
Judges 13-16 Playing around with God
Playing around with God (Judges 13-16)
Judges 13-14_A. Listening to God
Responding to Authority
Judges 14-16_B. Consequences of Life
Disciplining His Children
Judges 14-16 C. Desires not Restrained
Dealing with Lust
Judges 13-16 Bible Study Questions

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Biblical Foundations for Freedom

Rev. Paul J. Bucknell