When God asks anyone a question, we can benefit by seeing how the principle in question applies to us. Moses and Joshua led God’s people for many, many years. Because they walked with the Lord, these two men were the human answer to every question, dilemma, and problem the children of Israel faced. The Lord spoke to Moses, and after his death, to Joshua who passed necessary information along to the people. Joshua had been trained to bear the burden of leadership to bring this people into the Promised Land. Tragically, after entering the Promised Land, Joshua died with no trained leader ready to take his place.
Judges 2:8-10 gives the record, Then Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of one hundred and ten. And they buried him in the territory of his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash. All that generation also were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel.
(NASU) The results were disastrous. The people did not uphold their part of the covenant God had established with them.
Specifically, the Israelites were told to destroy the altars to the false gods of Canaan and not to make any covenants with the Canaanites. In Judges 2, God appears as the angel of the Lord. Some bright and good scholars contend that this “angel of the Lord” was a man. The evidence seems clear to me and many good scholars also, that it is God Himself. Whatever your point of view, the issue at hand is: This being came to rebuke the people for not obeying His voice. Judges 2:2-3 records His words, “But you have not obeyed My voice. Why have you done this? Therefore I also said, 'I will not drive them out before you; but they shall be thorns in your side, and their gods shall be a snare to you.” (NKJV)
What is entailed in obeying God’s voice? First, we must have a desire to hear His voice. It is rather easy to allow competing voices to drown out His. We must remember to go to the quiet place and get alone with Him. Second, we must be able to recognize His voice. It would be rather easy to mistake His voice for other voices clamoring for our attention. His sheep know His voice. Are you one of His sheep? That is the only way you will recognize His voice. Last, we must make a conscious decision to obey. Sadly, many of us lack the strength to make a conscious decision to obey. Maybe even a larger problem is the fact that many of us do not get past the first two conditions.
After pointing out their failure to obey His voice, God asked a tough question, “Why have you done this?” He had already pointed out the reason for their failure to obey His voice. Their previous disobedience prevented them from desiring to hear His voice and from recognizing His voice. They had refused to tear down altars to false gods. Aren’t you glad that you and I have no false gods of our own? Or do we? How has your hearing been lately? Do whatever it takes to hear from the One who loves you far more than you love yourself. The opportunity to hear from Him is a blessing, honor, and privilege that is a terrible thing to waste.