Good Done Gone Bad
And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD... (Jdg 2:11 )
This phrase, "did evil in the sight" occurs seven times in the book of Judges. Seven times. You would think that after seven times the people might have caught on. Yet, when I did a search of the whole Old Testament, the Bible software turned up 37 occurrences of this phrase. Doing evil in the sight of the Lord seems to have been a favorite pastime of the Israelites.
It wasn't that the Israelites didn't know any better. They had been given a set of laws through Moses that told them not to do that. There is a lesson there I think. Just because you know what is right doesn't mean you can or will do what is right. The whole of the Bible has this repeated cycle. Man starts out right, screws it up, gets a warning and judgment from God, repents, and starts over. And over, and over, and over...
These accounts in the Old Testament are histories, but I think they are there not just as an historical account. I think they should be understood as an allegory of man's condition and also as a prophecy of what the solution is. From Genesis onward you see this story. Man rebels against God and pays the price for it. Man thinks the solution is to get the right set of rules and follow them, but that never works for very long. Pretty soon, man is right back where he was before. The laws are ignored and corruption and injustice sets in leading to destruction.
The book of Judges has another allegory in it. In each case where the Israelites fell into bondage, they cried out to God in repentance. God, in response, sent a deliverer.. God appoints and anoints a man (usually only one) who leads the people out of bondage. It is God's power, exercised through that deliverer that provides the remedy to the condition. Once having gone bad, they had to have outside help to get out of the situation
That's the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a nutshell. Man has rebelled against God, can't find his way back, lacks the capacity to be righteous by following rules, and must have outside help in the person of Jesus Christ. It is only through the spirit of Christ working in us that we can ever hope to get out of this situation. What's more, it is only by that same spirit that we can avoid going bad again. To get out of this repeated cycle of good gone bad, we have to keep going the way we get started.
Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? (Gal 3:3 )
I think it's not that hard to convince people they need outside help to overcome sin. Unfortunately, after that initial conversion Christians seem to descend back into the same cycle the Israelites fell into, slipping back into sin due to the temptations and seductions of the world, repenting, and then going at it again. After a while you would think folks would catch on. If it is the spirit of Christ that delivers us from past sins, it is that same spirit of Christ that will keep us from falling back into sin. This cycle of good-gone-bad gets broken the moment we realize we must walk by the spirit of Christ working in us from beginning to end.
But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (Rom 8:11-14)