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Chapter 2

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The Angel Of The Lord At Bokin (ch. 2:1 - 5)


In verse 1 we see the phrase "the angel of the Lord".  As I've said before, most Bible teachers agree that this term refers to pre-incarnate Jesus.  We need to realize that Jesus existed before He was so named when He was conceived into the womb of Mary.


The angel of the Lord reminds Israel that it was He who led them out of Egypt and into the promised land of Canaan .  So, we must think, in terms of the exodus from Egypt, it was Jesus' doing, although He was not so named at the time.  It is also Jesus who will return to Israel at the end of this age, which leads me to the next point.


The verse also mentions the covenant that God spoke to Israel's forefathers.  The question needs to be asked, "what covenant is being spoken of here"?  There are only two possible answers.  It is either the Mosaic Covenant or the Abrahamic Covenant.  I will not get into the difference between these two covenants because I have done that elsewhere.  Because of the words "forefathers", which for the most part, in the Old Testament refer to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, I believe the covenant spoken of here is the Abrahamic Covenant and not the Mosaic Covenant. This is key to the passage since how you view this covenant will determine how you think of the rest of this passage. The Abrahamic Covenant was unconditional and is often in reference to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  The Mosaic Covenant was conditional and was in reference to Moses.


Another reason why I believe this is the Abrahamic Covenant spoken of here is because the context has to do with God giving Israel land, which was a big part of the Abrahamic Covenant. 


Verse 2 says, "I will never break my covenant". This is yet another reason why I believe it is the Abrahamic Covenant spoken of here.  That covenant was unconditional, meaning, God would keep it and fulfill it even if Israel didn't participate in the covenant. 


The Mosaic Covenant was conditional.   Israel entered into that covenant with God and as long as Israel kept the covenant, the covenant would not be broken.  Israel, not God, broke that covenant. As an aside, I do believe that in the end, in the thousand year rule of Christ on earth, Israel will keep the Mosaic Covenant.  I know not all believe that, and I know it is hard, but not impossible to prove from Scripture.


Also in verse 2 God reminds Israel that they are not to enter into any covenant with the people they now live among.  They belong to Yahweh.  They've entered into His covenant, and that is the only covenant that they are permitted to participate in.  Of course, Israel failed to obey God on this point, and from my futuristic eschatological perspective, they will do the same at the end of this age with the anti-Christ.  It is this covenant that will usher in the final and most drastic judgment on Israel that will eventually bring her to her knees.


Also in verse 2 God reminded Israel that they were to break down the altars of the pagan gods that they lived amongst, but again, they disobeyed God's command, as is stated here.


The simple fact is that if God's people don't rid themselves of that which does not belong to God in their lives, that which does not belong to God will grow and eventually take them over.  You become what you did not destroy.  This is what happened to Israel.  They paganized themselves by not destroying paganism.


God asks in verse 2, "why have you done this"?  I don't think God is asking this question because He doesn't know the answer.  He's asking Israel this question to make them think.  They need to know why they did not obey.  The question is meant to make them understand their condition that would cause them to repent.


In verse 3 we see God's response to Israel's disobedience.  Because Israel did not drive the pagans out of the land, God would not win the battles against the pagans for Israel.  The whole idea about Israel entering Canaan was that they would fight these pagans and the Lord would help them win the fight.  He was no longer willing to help them.  The pagans would become a thorn and a snare to them.  Israel would join forces with the pagans, but in the end, those to whom they joined forces with would overthrow them.  This is a basic principle of Scripture for both Old Testament times and New Testament times, and for both individuals and nations.  I suggest that what is happening in the western world today, here in 2012, is exactly what happened to Israel of old. Our nations must be warned.  Our churches must be warned, and individuals must be warned.  It's a simple fact, whether you believe it's a Biblical principle or not, if you don't get rid of what opposes you, what opposes you will get rid of you, either by force or by assimilation.    


Verses 4 and 5 show us that in general terms the Israelis wept when they heard these words of judgment.  The tipping point of sin had reached the throne of God.  He had just pronounced judgment and Israelis wept as a result.  This weeping doesn't mean they repented.  It simply means that they were sorry for themselves because God would now judge them. 


The place where they wept was named "Bokin", which means, "a place to weep".


Disobedience And Defeat (ch. 2:6-23)


We see in verse 6 and 7 that while Joshua and the elders of Israel at the time, Israelis served the Lord,  That all changed with the next generation.  It doesn't have to take a long time for a community of  believers to fall into disobedience.  One generation is sufficient time.


In verse 9 we see that Joshua died at the age of 110.  He was buried in his tribal inheritance, which was the land of Ephraim.  This tells us that Joshua was of the tribe of Ephraim.


Verse 10 is sad.  It states that the next generation after Joshua's death neither knew the Lord or how He had blessed Israel.  We might wonder just how that would be.  Didn't Joshua's generation pass along these things to their children?  I would think they did, mainly because the last verse said that Joshua's generation served the Lord.  I would then think they would have taught the ways of Yahweh to their children. 


I think the problem arose with the next generation growing up in a land heavily influenced by paganism.  They simply refused to listen to their parents.  They gave themselves to the pagan way of life that surrounded them, something God commanded them not to do.  


I believe verses 11 and 12 show my above point to be true.  The text states that "they did evil by serving the Baals".  It also says, "they forsook the Lord".  It's not that this generation didn't hear about the Lord, because they did.  They knew the Lord in their heads, but the did not know Him in their hearts, so they fell into Baal worship.


One thing we learn about this is that every generation must find the Lord on their own.  You do not inherit salvation.  One of the hardest things for God's people seems to be to pass their Christian heritage on to the next generation. 


Note in verse 11 the word "Baals", plural.  Each community had their own Baal and altar to Baal. Thus the reason for the plural form of Baal.  Such worship "provoked the Lord to anger". 


I suggest that today, when Christians attempt to unite themselves with other world religions, the Lord is provoked to anger as well.  There is no difference between Israel uniting with pagans and Christians uniting with pagans.  Judgment comes on both because God is provoked to anger.


Note "Ashoreth' mentioned in verse 13.  She was a Canaanite goddess of fertility.  You might say she was the female counterpart to Baal, who was a male god of fertility.  


We see the judgment of God in verse 14 and 15.  Judgment came by military defeat by Israel 's enemies.  God gave them over to those who they wanted to join with and those who they wanted to join with eventually overthrew them.  The same will happen with the western world today.  As we depart from our Judeo/Christian foundations, God will step back from us, hand us over to our enemies, who will eventually overthrow us, militarily, economically, and socially.


The principle that the apostle Paul speaks of in Romans 1 takes place here.  God will simply withdraw Himself from us and hand us over to the sin of our choice.


Verses 16 and onward tell us that God raised up judges to care for Israel .  These judges were local judges.  They represented God to the local communities of Israelis.  If the people followed the judges, that community would survive.  If not, their enemies would overtake them.  In the midst of all the paganism, God still had a remnant of men who were calling Israelis to repentance.   He did this because as verse 18 states, that He had "compassion on them".  Even in the  midst of His anger, God still has compassion.  This is one very important piece of information to know and understand. There is always hope in the God of the Bible.   


Verse 19 states that when God appointed judges died, the next generation got more evil than the last.  This is how it is in life.  Unless the cycle breaks, the next generation will fall to a lower level of sin than the last generation. 


In verses 20 to 23 we see that God was "very angry" with the second generation after Joshua died.  Earlier in the chapter we noted that God was angry with the first generation after Joshua, but now, since the second generation is worse still, He is even more angry.  He does not fight on their behalf.  Israelis lose battles.  These losses were to be a "test" that would make them think about returning to God.  We must understand the judgment by God is for one reason.  Yes, it is punishment, but the punishment is to encourage us to come back to the Lord.



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