Cause and Effect

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

Judges 13:1 (NIV)
Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, so the Lord delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years.

Judges 13:1 (MSG)
And then the People of Israel were back at it again, doing what was evil in God’s sight. God put them under the domination of the Philistines for forty years.
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“Now Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord gave them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years. -AMPLIFIED

At the tail end of Judges 12 we find that Jephthah ruled for 6 years and then he died. He was followed by Ibzan of Bethlehem, who ruled for 7 years; then he died. Followed by Elon the Zebulunite who judged Israel for 10 years; then he too died. Next there was Abdon, the son of Hillel the Pirathonite, who ruled for 8 years; then he too dies. In short succession we have four judges who each judged only for a short time. After the death of Abdon we are told that once again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord.

That phrase, “Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.” occurs 36 times in the Old Testament. The people forgot the Lord their God and so the Lord allowed them to be delivered into the hands of their enemies. This would be cause and effect in action; the people forgot God and He allowed them to be given into the hands of various nations. (This time it would be for 40 years.)Beware; this is what happens when people forget God!

The Israelites once again messed up and were now in the hands of the Philistines. (This would be the ancestors of the modern day Palestinian.)

“The Philistines were among the “sea people” who, in the twelfth century B.C., migrated from an area of Greece to the coastal plain of Canaan. The Jews weren’t able to occupy that territory during their conquest of the land. (See Joshua 13:1-2)” -Warren W. Wiersbe

During this time period, when the Israelites were under the rule of the Philistines, we find God setting the stage for the next judge, Samson. “A certain man of Zorah, named Manoah, from the clan of the Danites, had a wife who was childless, unable to give birth. The angel of the Lord appeared to her and said, “You are barren and childless, but you are going to become pregnant and give birth to a son. Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean. You will become pregnant and have a son whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.” -Judges 13:2-5 (NIV)God was preparing His answer, the defender of His Name and the guardian of His people; Samson.

Cause and effect can be defined in this way: “a relationship between actions or events such that one or more are the result of the other or others.” -Dictionary.com

It goes hand-in-hand with the if/then statement. If I do this; then this will happen. The people of Israel should have picked up by now the pattern that their lives were following. If they forgot God and worshiped other idols; then they were oppressed by other nations. If they did evil in the sight of God; then He allowed them to suffer the consequences. Sadly, they still struggled with keeping their relationship with God right.

It was many years down the road that we find God having a conversation with King Solomon. God told Solomon, “If I shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or if I command locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence and plague among My people, and My people, who are called by My Name, humble themselves, and pray and seek (crave, require as a necessity) My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear [them] from heaven, and forgive their sin and heal their land.” -2 Chronicles 7:13-14 (AMP)

If I shut up the heavens because of your sin and if my people will call on my Name, humble themselves, pray and seek me, as well as turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear, forgive and heal. That is a pretty long cause and effect, but every step of it was intended to bring restoration between the people and God. Every part was important and needed. If the people were not calling on God it would have been someone else. Without the humbling of themselves they would have continued in pride trying to save themselves. Without the praying and seeking God they would have not realized their need of God, nor would they have developed their relationship with Him. Without turning from their sin there would never have been a reconciliation.

The people of God, world-wide, need to come to grips with the cause and effect situations that have touched all of our lives. If we are the children of the Most High God than we need to be turning from evil, calling on God’s Name, humbling ourselves, praying and seeking Him. Otherwise we should be expecting the consequences of our sin.

My Prayer:
Lord, I want to be true to you. I want my focus to be wholly on you. If my heart has turned from you in any way, I pray that your Holy Spirit will bring it to my attention. Forgive me, Lord. I want our relationship to be strong. I want to be in tune with the leading of your Holy Spirit.

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