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Judges 2:8-19 (NIV)
8 Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of a hundred and ten. 9 And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Heres in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash. 10 After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. 11 Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals. 12 They forsook the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They aroused the Lord’s anger 13 because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths.14 In his anger against Israel the Lord gave them into the hands of raiders who plundered them. He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist.15 Whenever Israel went out to fight, the hand of the Lord was against them to defeat them, just as he had sworn to them. They were in great distress.16 Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hands of these raiders. 17 Yet they would not listen to their judges but prostituted themselves to other gods and worshiped them. They quickly turned from the ways of their ancestors, who had been obedient to the Lord’s commands. 18 Whenever the Lord raised up a judge for them, he was with the judge and saved them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived; for the Lord relented because of their groaning under those who oppressed and afflicted them. 19 But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their ancestors, following other gods and serving and worshiping them. They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways.
Ruth and Boaz lived during the time of the Judges, men and women whom God raised up to save Israel. But a pattern quickly emerged: 1) the people abandoned God, 2) they got into trouble, 3) they cried out to God, 4) God saves them and then the pattern repeats. For Israel, God was a backup plan, not someone they wanted to follow daily. This cycle also shows that each generation did not pass on an understanding of who God was to the next. Both generations are at fault because life is a complicated web of relationships that influence and affect one another. The question, then, is: do we live in that cycle like the Israelites, only calling on God in desperate times of need? Or are we living daily lives of “ordinary” faithfulness, devotion, and sacrificial love that shows and communicates to others who God is and what God has done in our lives?