Something that I fear personally happened to the Israelites. They rejected God for such a long period of time that God refused to hear them when they finally called out to him.
13 Yet you have forsaken me and served other gods; therefore I will save you no more. 14 Go and cry out to the gods whom you have chosen; let them save you in the time of your distress.” Judges 10:13-14 ESV
“I will save you no more” is such a devastating response. Topped with a burning challenge from God to them… “cry to the gods whom you have chosen”.
There are two key words that must be addressed that highlight the gulf between these people and God. The rebellious people are so selfish and shortsighted that they are oblivious to the eternal picture that God operates from. God created life to be enjoyed and to delight in Him as the Creator, but people want to enjoy what is right in front of themselves to the extent that they become slaves to that desire and then fail to enjoy what would have been wonderful.
4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4 ESV
God turned away from their cries for help and he tells them that he will not “save” them this time. Moses is not here to stand in the gap to advocate on their behalf.
Therefore he said he would destroy them— had not Moses, his chosen one, stood in the breach before him, to turn away his wrath from destroying them. Psalms 106:23 ESV
The first key word from God is that he would no longer “save” them. Salvation is not secured and because of their rejection of God for so long God is giving them what they wanted by their choice and life without need of him. A common but incorrect idea is that God in the Old Testament is unforgiving and the God of the New Testament is loving. It is not true because God is unchanging. He is the same then as he is now. He was loving and merciful to these people but he is not to be taken for granted and he will not force himself on anyone.
22 “Yet you did not call upon me, O Jacob; but you have been weary of me, O Israel! 23 You have not brought me your sheep for burnt offerings, or honored me with your sacrifices. I have not burdened you with offerings, or wearied you with frankincense…But you have burdened me with your sins; you have wearied me with your iniquities. Isaiah 43:22-24 ESV
Why should God save them? Is he obligated to them to be there like the rich father who is always bailing a spoiled ungrateful son out of jail? God created us the only obligation is ours to be amazed by a God who is loving, just, and powerful. God does not need me. I need God and only He can save.
The second key word from God is that he tells them to ask the gods they have “chosen” to serve for help. Obviously the gods of man-made material will not save however for the contemporary reader don’t think this does not apply to you. What do we serve? What do we put our trust in? Money, scientific advancements, power, sex, drugs, work, or what? Will they save you? Will they provide joy, contentment, and love? For a short period of time maybe, but what then when you get old or tragedy strikes? At some point in this temporary life our obligation to the creator will be called on. Will any of your man made gods that you have chosen to serve save you?
33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Romans 8:33 ESV
God resolved the problem in that Moses could only intercede for that generation of his time God provided a perfect king and priest. Jesus came that he would stand with the father and advocate on our behalf. God will listen to those who he has “chosen” and those who have “chosen” Christ because Christ is interceding for us. Do not be consumed by the temporary pleasure, power, and money that is right in front of you. God calls us to see the big picture. The eternal picture. God did eventually save the Israelites because they repented in a real way.
16 So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the Lord, and he became impatient over the misery of Israel. Judges 10:16 ESV
They put away those things that kept them from serving God and they chose to serve him and because of that God once again heard their cries and provided someone to save them. Ask God for the desire to choose him, to serve him over the idols of today. Repent from self-serving evil that consumes today. Christ will intercede and God will save you today and for eternity.
24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. Matthew 6:24 ESV