The Angel of the Lord said, “I will never break my covenant with you, and you shall not make a covenant with the people of this land, but you shall break their altars. Yet you have disobeyed me. Why have you done this? Now therefore, I tell you that I will not drive them out before you; they will be thorns in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you.” Judges 2:1b-3

In the book of Judges we find the desire of God to reconcile the Israelites back to him, as it is through all of the Old Testament. But we do find words here that can speak to us today, if we just listen close enough. The angel is speaking to the Israelites after they have gone to war with the people living in the land the Lord has promised them. However, they did not follow what was asked of them as they were supposed to drive the people out, completely. They did not and that is why the angel is expressing these words.

Jesus enters our lives and our hearts, which should drive all of our old thoughts out of our lives. This act should clear our hearts and desires of anything other than Jesus, but does it really? Too many times we find it easy to only allow Jesus in while not releasing all of the “old self” for cleansing. When we do this, we are like the Israelites from this passage. We find our past desires as thorns, scraping, poking, dragging us down, keeping us from our relationship with Jesus. Also, the gods we serve, money, prestige, status, or material possessions, snare us in their vice-like grasp, not wanting to let us go.

We need to fully trust God with the lives that he gave us, allowing him to guide our paths. We need to truly give up those thorns and other “gods” so that we can become devoted to the true God of all. When we are able to do this, we become reconciled to God’s love, grace, and mercy.