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We Really Mean it This Time


Judges 10:10–18

And the children of Israel cried out to the LORD, saying, “We have sinned against You, because we have both forsaken our God and served the Baals!”

So the LORD said to the children of Israel, “Did I not deliver you from the Egyptians and from the Amorites and from the people of Ammon and from the Philistines? Also the Sidonians and Amalekites and Maonites oppressed you; and you cried out to Me, and I delivered you from their hand. Yet you have forsaken Me and served other gods. Therefore I will deliver you no more. “Go and cry out to the gods which you have chosen; let them deliver you in your time of distress.”

And the children of Israel said to the LORD, “We have sinned! Do to us whatever seems best to You; only deliver us this day, we pray.” So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the LORD. And His soul could no longer endure the misery of Israel.

Then the people of Ammon gathered together and encamped in Gilead. And the children of Israel assembled together and encamped in Mizpah. And the people, the leaders of Gilead, said to one another, “Who is the man who will begin the fight against the people of Ammon? He shall be head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.”

Here we go again. Israel is back to crying out to the LORD in their distress. This is getting annoyingly repetitive.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." — George Santayana

So, the LORD recounts all the times He has delivered them and announces, “No more.” He’s had enough of their nonsense. “Go and cry out to the gods which you have chosen; let them deliver you in your time of distress.”

The Israelites respond by saying that they really mean it this time. In a way, they do.

At least they think they do.

So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the LORD.

But what does that mean? Does it mean that they finally understand who He is and why His commandments matter? Or does it just mean they don’t like pain and they’re trying to avoid it?

Even if it’s the latter, they must have some kind of faith. Otherwise, they wouldn’t think that putting away the foreign gods would have any effect.

This is no different than all the previous pledges of fealty. Each time, they had “practical faith”—going through all the motions to get the desired result. But they didn’t have “heart faith”—believing in their heart that it’s all true. Their faith wasn’t “real” enough that it passed on to the next generation.

These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Weekend DEEPs are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:

The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Kids see right through superficial faith.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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