If you remember, “Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua and had known all the work that the LORD did for Israel” (Joshua 24:31), not many (if any) leaders in Israel could have that said of them (even Moses who was the previous leader of Israel could not have that said of him) but once Joshua died Israel went straight down hill. Judges opens up with explaining how Israel did not clear the land of it inhabitants as God had commanded. The theme of Judges is 21:25 “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Immediately when Israel lost the godly life and leadership of Joshua (literally the next portion and paragraph of Scripture) they quickly slipped into idolatry and “the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals” (2:11) and “they whored after other gods and bowed down to them“(2:17).
A good reminder to myself this morning about my own weakness and frailty. How quick I am to waft between serving the Lord wholly and then quickly whoring after other gods such as lust and pride and anger. I need to run to the mirror of God’s word and have it convict me and show me for who I really am, a weak sinner in need of His help and guidance.
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”
(James 1:22-25 ESV)