Thursday, March 13, 2014

Judges 1-3

We begin reading the book of Judges (1-3) today.  It covers about 325 years following Joshua's death.  A good hero is hard to come by in these days.  Israel is stubborn and fails to completely get rid of the enemies still living in the land God has given them.  This leads to lots of trouble and a really bad cycle.  The Israelites are influenced by those among them who don't worship God.  They are lead astray and distracted.   Again and again, they suffer the consequences, as God said they would.  They turn back to God in their desperation.  And in His faithfulness and loving kindness, God raises up some faithful "judges" or leaders here and there to rescue His people and restore their faith so that things will go well with them. 

Israel is made up of a new generation, and God uses other nations to test His people.  During the times when Israel is faithful to God, things are good.  When Israel turns away from God's will, things become terrible.

God uses individuals, "judges," to save His people.  Othniel, Ehud, and Shamgar all temporarily deliver the Israelites from the trouble in which they find themselves.  

The Israelites just can't seem to break the cycle, and they can't seem to keep the connection between their own faithfulness and the good times.  God is always in control, but it's their own faith that serves as their biggest problem.

We see the way to break the cycle reflected in Proverbs 3.

Wisdom Bestows Well-Being

My son, do not forget my teaching,

    but keep my commands in your heart,

for they will prolong your life many years
    and bring you peace and prosperity.
Let love and faithfulness never leave you;

    bind them around your neck,

    write them on the tablet of your heart.

Then you will win favor and a good name
    in the sight of God and man.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart

    and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.[a]
Do not be wise in your own eyes;

    fear the Lord and shun evil.

This will bring health to your body
    and nourishment to your bones.
Honor the Lord with your wealth,

    with the firstfruits of all your crops;
then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
    and your vats will brim over with new wine.
My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline,

    and do not resent his rebuke,
because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
    as a father the son he delights in.[b]

A prayer for today-

Dear God,

Thank You for Your faithfulness and loving kindness.  Forgive me for all the ways I stray from Your path.  

As I face the future, Lord, help me to make all of my decisions with You in mind.  I need Your strong hand to be very outspoken and clear in the direction You want me to go next.  

I love You, Lord, with all my heart, and I am leaning on Your understanding.  I give myself to You.  I know You are the One and Only who will make my paths straight.

In the name of Jesus I pray,


*This post is part of A Mind-Maker-Upper's Everyday Reading Project.  Click here to read more.

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