What does God’s grace spring from?

Judges 2:16 (ESV)

16 Then the LORD raised up judges, who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them.

The note that the Lord raised up judges comes immediately after the terrible distress at the end of Judges 2:15, with nothing mentioned in between. There is no confession of sin on Israel’s part, no repentance, no putting away of their alternate gods, not even a cry for help! These things do happen from time to time in the stories of the judges that follow, but what the program is telling us is that they are never the cause of Yahweh’s gracious rescue missions, because Israel’s repentance, if it happens at all, is always shallow and temporary. It never signals a true change of heart and never leads back to true and lasting loyalty. And Yahweh is never fooled by it. The only thing that stirs his heart and moves him to intervene is their distress. He sees it, he cares about it, he remembers that they are his, and he raises up judges to save them. That’s grace—grace that reaches out in compassion.1