Devotional: Stuck in a Rut

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The Cycle of the Judges:

Have you noticed that in the book of Judges – the nation of Israel continues to participate in a downward spiraling cycle?  Go ahead and read a few of the stories and you will notice the following pattern emerge:

  1. The Israelites did evil in God’s sight
  2. God allowed their enemies to make life hard for them
  3. The Israelites cried out to the Lord
  4. God sent the Israelites a judge.

Othniel As An Example: Judges 3:7-11

1. “The Lord saw that the Israelites did evil things.”

“2. So He allowed King Cushan Rishathaim of Aram Naharaim to defeat the Israelites and to rule over them”

3. “But the Israelites cried to the Lord for help”

4. “He led the Israelites to war. The Lord helped Othniel defeat King Cushan Rishathaim of Aram”


“They forgot about the Lord their God”.

To forget does not mean you do not know. You do. To forget means that you act in a way that is against what you already know. We forget about God when we allow his presence and his teaching to go a distance from us. Deut. 6:6 – do not let the teachings go away from you. Keep them close and keep them near.  Perhaps our problem is the same. It is not that we need to learn more, but we need to remember what we have already been taught.

“God allowed them to be defeated and ruled over.”

God does not bless the disobedient. Life does not bless the disobedient. Whatever lies you believe about evil are wrong. They will bring harm, destruction, damage, and loneliness into your life.  In Romans 1:24-26 it is obvious God left them – NIV “God handed them over”. Essentially God says, “If that is what you want then that is what you get.”

“But, the Israelites cried to the Lord for help.”

This is the moment of realization. There has been a spiritual blindness and because of the suffering we feel we recognize that we need God’s help.  Psalm 51:1-4. David was ready to stop telling himself lies. And he turned, on his knees to God.

“God sends someone to rescue them. God offers salvation.”

Ephesians 2:4-5. 

Unfortunately, this pattern is repeated today.  It is not the cycle of the judges, but instead the cycle of sin.  Far too many people are falling deeper into a downward spiral of sin.  They wonder to themselves, how can I escape this cycle of sin?

So, how do we escape from our cycle of sin?

1. You must have and depend on the Holy Spirit – Romans 8:1-4

2. Keep God near you not far away – Deut 6:6

3. Rely on the strength of the church in our times of weakness. Heb. 10:25

4. Consider a drastic change.  Remove yourself from the temptation. – Mt. 5:27-30

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