Why We Need to Cry Out to the Lord

The Purge is a series of horror movies based on the premise that, for one 12-hour period each year, there are no laws, people are free to commit any crime, and there are no emergency services (e.g., police, fire fighters, and medical care). During this time, people go into hiding to survive, and the evilest people roam the streets causing terror and committing murder. If the Gideon narrative in Judges were a movie, it could aptly be an ancient version of The Purge.  

Gideon’s story opens with both the Israelites and their enemy the Midianites doing “evil in the sight of the Lord.” God’s patience wears out, and He allows Midian to undertake a successful terrorist invasion. 

For the ensuing seven years, the Israelites – who are supposed to be God’s people but live in open constant rebellious sin – are forced into hiding in the mountains while their enemies move into their homes, plunder their possessions, and eat their livestock and crops, in what today would be reported as an invasion causing a humanitarian crisis. The point is that sometimes life gets hard not because we are not victims, but because we are villains, and God has allowed us to reap what we have sown and allows others to treat us the way we have been treating others.  

Then, everything changes when “the people of Israel cried out for help to the LORD.” This is the Judges cycle, where people do evil, God does not intervene
to save them, their lives plunge into suffering and darkness, and eventually, under great pain and loss, they cry out to God as a last resort. Sadly, many people do the same thing today – live in sinful rebellion, wreck their life and family, take years to come to their senses, and only when they have hit proverbial rock bottom do they turn to God.  

Rather than delivering them, God sends a prophet to rebuke them. His message reminds them that they were in a similar situation generations prior as slaves in Egypt. Then, God delivered them and told them He would bring them to the Promised Land, but when they occupied it, they were forbidden from worshiping other gods and marrying and compromising with people of other nations who worshiped powerful demon gods. They did exactly the opposite of what God said, which is why they were back in bondage.  

The people want their circumstances to change, but they do not want their hearts to change. They cry out for God to bring deliverance, but they are unwilling to practice repentance. This scene contains a vital lesson: If you want God to deliver you from hardship in your life, cry out to Him in repentance of whatever sin and folly helped get you into your dire circumstances. Furthermore, in this scene we learn the powerful lesson that, once God sets you free, you must choose to live free, otherwise you will return to a life of brokenness and bondage. This is precisely what happens to the people in Judges; rather than owning and repenting of their sin, they blameshift to the Lord. As Gideon says, “the LORD has forsaken us,” when the truth is they had forsaken the Lord.  

In what area of your life do you need God’s help today?

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