Israel again serves the Baals and Ashtaroth, the gods of Syria.
Israel is oppressed by the Philistines and Ammonites for 18 years.
Interesting side note: When we lived in Turkey, I saw a fundraiser to help the Philistines fight against Israel. I was stunned when I realized that Philistine is their word for Palestinian. Israel and the Philistines are still at it!
I don’t know why it takes Israel 18 years of oppression to finally cry out to God. God’s response is: “Go and cry out to the gods whom you have chosen; let them save you in the time of your distress.”
I guess that’s what they had been doing in the meantime, crying out to their false gods, making sacrifices and offerings, trying to buy their salvation from their works.
Of course, it couldn’t work. At some point they convinced themselves those other gods had something to offer them, but it had gotten so bad for so long that they finally faced reality that these gods weren’t saving them.
It is our sinful human nature, I suppose, to try every means necessary within our power to save ourselves and not turn to God until we’re at the end of our rope, when all else has failed. We’d live in a lot more peace and joy if we just left the saving up to Him and didn’t try to play God ourselves.
God wanted to be their God. He wants to be your God. You just have to let Him!
Israel puts away their other gods and turns to the one, true God for help. He sees their misery and comes to the rescue.
Let God be your rescuer, your comforter, your healer, your protector, your teacher, your friend.
Let God be your God!