Greg and Rachel sat several feet apart on the opposite side of my desk. Within minutes of arriving for marriage counseling, they were loudly arguing. Each blamed the other for the failure of their drug addictions and lack of money. He blamed her for pushing him to get a job so he could buy drugs; she blamed him for making her pregnant so she couldn’t use drugs.
Unable to get a word in, I finally stood on my office chair and yelled at both of them to be quiet. They’d come for help, but if they wanted to fight they could go home. They continued arguing and I showed them the door. They had a piece of paper showing they were married, but their hearts were divided: divided from each other, divided from a common godly purpose, and divided from God.
Before Moses died, God appointed Joshua as successor (Numbers 27:15-23). The Book of Joshua begins with Israel camped on the eastern side of the Jordan River poised to enter Canaan. This generation outlived their parents who all died as God kept them wandering in the wilderness 40 years. As they wandered, they didn’t devote themselves to God, but worshiped idols while going through the motions of serving God (Joshua 24:14-15).
There is no neutrality or compromise in God’s kingdom. Everyone worships or serves something. Many people believe they can worship and serve God and something else simultaneously, but God rejects that notion (Matthew 6:24). Anyone or thing besides Him is a false god.
The Biblical God is jealous for those whom He loves (Exodus 20:5) and one of His divine names is Jealous (Exodus 34:14). Devoted to His people, He won’t allow even the hint of duplicity to slip in between Him and His beloved.
In the final recorded words before he died, Joshua called Israel to devote themselves to obey and serve God alone. The Book of Judges is the record of Israel’s rejection of Joshua’s call. Everyone chose to do what was right in his own eyes and the nation slid into social chaos, political servitude, economic collapse, and religious hypocrisy. God, who knows the heart and mind of every person, revealed every hidden disloyalty and used Israel’s enemies to judge those who served Him from fake, dishonorable, or disrespectful hearts (Joshua 24:14-28).