“And so, Yahweh raised up Judges for them and Yahweh was with the Judge and saved them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the Judge, for Yahweh was grieved by their groaning caused by those who oppressed them and crowded them out. But at the death of the Judge, they returned and behaved corruptly (in contrast to their fathers) and went after other gods to serve them and bow before them. They did not abandon their deeds or their impudent ways.”
In some senses, there seems little to say about these verses, though they speak volumes about the nature of man and about the character of God. The reality is that, like the people of Israel, apart from a savior, we are helpless to do anything but to fall into sin. The good news is that unlike the Judges of old, which came and delivered for a season, Jesus promises never to leave nor to forsake us.
Even so, God often allows oppressors to enter into our midst to teach us reliance on Him and not on our own strength. Even as I have often told my children with respect to challenges they face in life, it is typically those things that are difficult that God uses to grow us and to mature us the most greatly.
Moving from the personal to the level of Christ’s church, these verses also highlight the importance that a church have both godly leaders and a godly pastor. For when the leadership of the church fades, the people will pursue sin. History is marked by numerous examples of churches and even whole denominations that have drifted into sin because their leaders have not been vigilant to govern the church according to the Scriptures. And once these institutions fall into apostasy, the people will rarely abandon their wicked deeds or their impudent ways.