After this continual cycle of God’s faithfulness and Israel’s faithlessness, we see God abandon Israel for a time, but then they experience God’s deliverance.
Psalm 78:55-72 lays out this story and we see God have pity on Israel, even when they do not deserve it and have not asked for it.
“When God heard, he was full of wrath, and he utterly rejected Israel. He forsook his dwelling at Shiloh, the tent where he dwelt among mankind, and delivered his power to captivity, his glory to the hand of the foe.”Psalm 78:59-61
The Israelites were God’s chosen people, and he loved them deeply. Yet, time after time they essentially cheated on him and were unfaithful and nagging. For them it was all about “me, me, me” and no matter how many times he gave them what they wanted, they were quick to forget and turn against him.
They even worshipped their own handmade idols, which roused God’s jealousy.
Therefore, God did not only hand the Israelites over to their enemies, but he also allowed the Ark of the Covenant, which represented his presence among the Israelites, to be taken and he took his power from it. The Israelites were left utterly alone.
Although God gave into his wrath for a time, he saw how the Israelites suffered and he “woke up.”
“Then the Lord awoke as from sleep, like a strong man shouting because of wine. And he put his adversaries to rout; he put them to everlasting shame.”Psalm 78:65-66
As Matthew Henry explains…
“We read not of their repentance and return to God, but God was grieved for the miseries of Israel (Jdg. 10:16)…And therefore then the Lord awaked as one out of sleep (v. 65), and like a mighty man that shouteth by reason of wine…that is refreshed with sleep, and whose heart is made glad by the sober and moderate use of wine, and is therefore the more lively and vigorous, and fit for business. When God had delivered the ark of his strength into captivity, as one jealous of his honour, he soon put forth the arm of his strength to rescue it, stirred up his strength to do great things for his people.”
Israel suffered God’s wrath, but God then delivered them and his enemies suffered his vengeance.
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