The Book of Judges is well known for the cycle of sin and repentance that the Israelites experience. I found myself particularly fascinated with Chapter 10 where the the sons of Israel abandoned God again for Baal. The generational pendulum swing is rife for drawing historical parallels. Specifically, in present day America, we rightly sense that culture has abandoned God even to the point of wanting to redefine what man and women are.
10 Then the sons of Israel cried out to the Lord, saying, “We have sinned against You, for indeed, we have forsaken our God and served the Baals.” 11 The Lord said to the sons of Israel, “Did I not deliver you from the Egyptians, the Amorites, the sons of Ammon, and the Philistines? 12 Also when the Sidonians, the Amalekites and the Maonites oppressed you, you cried out to Me, and I delivered you from their hands. 13 Yet you have forsaken Me and served other gods; therefore I will no longer deliver you. 14 Go and cry out to the gods which you have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your distress.” 15 The sons of Israel said to the Lord, “We have sinned, do to us whatever seems good to You; only please deliver us this day.” 16 So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the Lord; and He could bear the misery of Israel no longer.Judges 10:10-16 NASB 1995
Eventually the sons of Israel recognize their own rebellion and plead for deliverance. But God rebuffs them. In fact, they are mocked by God in verse 14. But as we see in verse 15, this mockery is the cause of true repentance. God causes repentance in people’s lives, and sometimes the means of which, like mockery, make people uncomfortable.
Relating this back to our present day, there is no shortage of people citing 2 Chronicles 7:14 to make America seem like we are a collective prayer away from rescue. 2 Chronicles 7:14 states:
and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
The verse itself does not support its widespread use as the verse does specify repentance which those championing it do not. In Judges 10 we see a clear application of this oft misapplied verse. Both passages emphasize repentance.
Moreover, since we are under the New Covenant, the application of this passage on a physical nation is misleading. There are no promises from Scripture that God is moved by the prayer of unbelievers. This verse is best applied to the church, which will in turn revive a nation.
And so there are many praying for national revival without casting aside their idolatry. As we approach one year of fifteen days to flatten the curve, we are reminded of how many churches abandoned Biblical eschatology for the pagan doomsday models, how many churches stopped gathering and made their small groups stop gathering simply because the government told them to, how many churches supported protesting for George Floyd instead of against the lockdown restrictions that actually oppressed their neighbors, and how many churches pushed White Fragility over Scripture.
We deserve to be mocked by God, whether this brings us to repentance or further judgement.