Monday, February 21, 2011

Judges



One of the classes I am taking right now is called Old Testament Survey. It is a mandatory class with Liberty University and I absolutely love it! If I had to choose a single book in the Old Testament that I have come to appreciate as a result of this class, I would say it is the book of Judges. I love the book of Judges because it demonstrates how God can use ordinary individuals who are faithful to Him to change the course of history.

Throughout the book of Judges we see the nation of Israel struggling to possess the land they had just conquered. No doubt there were challenges and difficulties for this new nation but Israel did indeed make some poor decisions. Israel repeatedly failed to annihilate all her enemies from her land. As a result, intermarriage became a problem as did the acceptance of strange gods. I can only imagine that perhaps when a long period of time elapsed without rain they thought, “well maybe just a little prayer to Baal won’t hurt anything… we could really use a storm right about now and so maybe a little prayer to the god of the Amalekites (or whoever) would be okay…” Perhaps some of the women who could not have children said, “well my neighbor Mrs. Jebusite prayed to Asteroth and well maybe a little prayer to the fertility goddess will be okay…” Unbelievable!!! These are the same people who may have very well witnessed the walls of Jericho fall or the waters of the Jordan River part! Or at least they may have heard first-hand accounts. Good grief. And because they became so tolerant (anyone ever see that bumper sticker that says “coexist” all spelled out with crazy symbols?) to the things of the world, God removed His hand of protection and blessing from Israel. And the nation would be enslaved by another foreign power. And then Israel would be like, “uh, where’s the blessing of Abraham?” No kidding!

We see 6 cycles of judges. God in His mercy, would raise up a judge each time Israel called unto Him for deliverance. I would love to do a character sketch on each of the 6 major judges. My favorite is Gideon—he was scared of everything. Go look up how many times “fear” and “if” show up in his story. Seriously, he was the guy who was threshing wheat in a wine press because he was afraid the enemy would find him if he did his wheat work out in the open! So yeah, wheat being tossed into the air from a wine press opening. Hmmmm. Likely candidate to fight off the Canaanites, don’t you think? Ha!

Anyway, the message of Judges screams out to Christians today. God wants to bless us and protect us but we must be faithful to Him. Once we begin accepting ungodly things into our lives we drift away from the hand of God and move away from his protection and blessing. We become vulnerable to the dangers in the world and soon will find ourselves enslaved to the things of this world. BUT! If we are faithful, God will use us to change our world! I want to live for Jesus and be counted faithful!

I am inspired by the book of Judges.

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