This afternoon (4/29/12) I was thinking about today’s Sunday school lesson and how the time period of the Judges represented year 1 of the 3 + 1 years referenced in Luke 13:6-9. My mind also went to back to Mark 11:13 – Jesus cursing the fig tree that had leaves but no fruit. We see in Judges 2:4 that the Israelites wept after being called out by the Angel of the Lord. The repeated cycle throughout the book of Judges was sin which led to oppression causing the people to cry out. Then God would raise up a judge to deliver His people. Deliverance brought peace – at least until the people were ensnared (Jdg 2:3 reference) by sin again.
The distressed cries of the Israelites were like leaves on the fig tree in Mark 11. Jesus came looking for fruit on that tree because the leaves could be seen from far away (in fig trees its leaves and fruit appear at the same time). The same was true of the Israelites in the time of the Judges. When they wept (recorded 6 times in the book of Judges) and cried out (recorded 10 times in Judges), it was like leaves showing up on the fig tree, and along with leaves, there should have been fruit –the fruit of repentance (Matt 3:8). Unfortunately Judges 2:16-17 reveals what God – “the man” from Luke 13:6 – saw when He came looking for fruit on His tree:
“But the Lord raised up judges, who delivered them out of the hands of those who robbed them. And yet they did not listen to their judges, for they played the harlot after other gods and bowed down to them. They turned quickly out of the way in which their fathers had walked, who had obeyed the commandments of the Lord, and they did not so.” (Amplified Bible)
Year 1: the Judges – no fruit
As humans, we would naturally feel disappointed coming to a dearly loved tree that isn’t producing fruit, but we can’t forget that God is not human (Num 23:19). His knowledge is timeless. He knew from the beginning how time would unfold and yet He made us … He chose us … He loves us anyway. He says it this way through the prophet Jeremiah, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.’” (Jer 29:11).