The Ammonites also crossed to the west side of the Jordan and attacked Judah, Benjamin, and Ephraim.
The Israelites were in great distress. Finally, they cried out to the Lord for help, saying, “We have sinned against you because we have abandoned you as our God and have served the images of Baal.”
The Lord replied, “Did I not rescue you from the Egyptians, the Amorites, the Ammonites, the Philistines, the Sidonians, the Amalekites, and the Maonites? When they oppressed you, you cried out to me for help, and I rescued you. Yet you have abandoned me and served other gods. So I will not rescue you anymore. Go and cry out to the gods you have chosen! Let them rescue you in your hour of distress!”
But the Israelites pleaded with the Lord and said, “We have sinned. Punish us as you see fit, only rescue us today from our enemies.”
Then the Israelites put aside their foreign gods and served the Lord. And he was grieved by their misery.
Once again the Israelites suffered for many years before they gave up their sinful ways and called out to God for help (see Judges 4:1-3; 6:1-7). Notice that when the Israelites were desperate, they did not look to their pagan gods for help, but to the only One who was actually able to help.
These verses show how difficult it can be to follow God over the long haul. The Israelites always seemed to forget God when all was well. But despite being rejected by his own people, God never failed to rescue them when they called out to him in repentance.
Is God your last resort? We expend so much unnecessary worry and effort because we don’t look to God until we’ve used up all other resources. Rather than waiting until the situation becomes desperate, turn to God first. He will not always solve your problems, but talking with him will bring a new perspective. Instead of seeing God change your circumstances, you may find that he is changing you.
Are you facing challenges that you can’t see your way out of? God may not take you out of them, but he may go through them with you. Strive to stay close to God rather than see how far you can go on your own. Then you may see just what God can do as you live life by his side.