“And he gathered to himself the Sons of Ammon and Amalek and they went and struck down Israel and dispossessed the City of Palms. Thus, the Sons of Israel served Eglon, king of Moab, for eighteen years.”
We tend to have short memories. We want everything in an instant and to move on to the next thing. The notion of being disciplined for 18 years seems like a lifetime for most of us. The notion of having to wait 18 years for a deliverer seems to us to be interminable. And recognize, too, much like today, during that 18 years, the people would have looked to this leader or that leader to lead them out of their servitude. There would have been some “political strategists” who would have advocated blending their society more with that of the Moabites and others who would have been chanting, “Let’s make Israel great again.”
The reality, though, deliverance does not come from politics or from political parties who jockey for power. Deliverance comes from God. That is an important lesson to learn for all of us today who sometimes get caught up in the frenzy of political promises. It is also a lesson to remember within the church as local congregations often look to their pastors to “fix” all of the problems and bring growth. But the role of our governors is to be ministers of God to bring terror to evil-doers (Romans 13:1-4), to punish wrongdoing and praise those who do good (1 Peter 2:14). It is the role of the pastor to train and equip the church to do the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12). The solution to the problems in America today are the same solutions as were the solutions in ancient Israel…repent of your sin, do justice, love God’s mercies, and walk humbly with your God. Yet, much like was the case with Adam and Eve, people today and during the day of the Judges, never want to look to self, but always seek to place the blame on another.
Thus, Moab and their allies move into national Israel and even take back the City of Palms, better known to us as Jericho (Deuteronomy 34:3). And, following the defeat, find themselves under Moab’s yoke. I wonder, will the Christian church today realize their sin before they find themselves under the yoke of a pagan federal government? Maybe we already are and are just too blind to see it.