Today’s Reading: Judges 2:7; 2:10-23; 3:1-31
Here we are again at another Saturday. For me, it looks like it is a little bit shorter on the reading – a Sabbath’s day reading? (shorter than normal?)
The background key to the reading is “a new generation”! Nor am I talking about the generation gap! The key to what is wrong about this new generation (if there is something wrong) is precisely that they did not know the Lord or had they experienced the miracles that the generation had experienced before them! Maybe they are like me, miracles are all around me, but I have not yet looked carefully enough to recognize them!
But the disaster to not recognize God in our lives, is that it brings other things to worship and with that defeat and disaster! God is too jealous of His people to let them go on their merry way! And so the cycle begins of ignoring God until He can’t be ignored because of “distress” and we call out to God in frustration and hurt! When He delivers, we are delighted, but unfortunately slip soon back into the old ways of ignoring Him again, like Israel, until roused again! Somehow, I think I know something of this cycle in my life and am thankful for the Holy Spirit that lives constantly in me and the new life God has given to me.
I find it interesting that each episode is longer than the one before, as God’s call becomes more urgent! I am also deeply touched that in the midst of His discipline, He hasn’t given up on His people and actually uses discipline to teach them warfare! Believe me, I would dump the people, until suddenly I realize that my life is sometimes (hopefully!) like theirs!
He actually leaves the enemies there to test their hearts – the Bible says to see whether they would obey the Lord’s commands – but I suspect, the truth of the matter is that an all-knowing God already knows this and He needs me to face up to the truth of how wayward I am liable to be when I don’t recognize how incredibly good He is to me – for me, that is really the thing that draws me like a magnet to Himself, and gives me the strength to obey His commandments – an obedience, which I living in a sinful world surrounded by temptation, sometimes find it hard to give to God.
But on the dark side of what we just read, comes Othniel, Eglon and Shamgar, whose willingness to obey God’s mission for their lives, moves me to tears, when I reflect whether I am really that willing to work with God in His victory plan for me and others. And their obedience is a shining star of beauty far above me!
Interesting that the three accounts are of different lengths and of different amounts of details! But these three are God’s instruments to use. Shamgar may not have many details and at first sight, I am tempted to think less of him. But I remember Jen’s comment last night in Young People’s Bible Study on Psalms 1:3. “A tree may seem like a very ordinary thing in life, but it says that this tree bears its fruit in its season and its leaves are not withered! I leave you to see what the comparison is and what kind of person I need to be in order to be green and not withered and to be bearing fruit for God in my season!
Keep reading – more defeats, but Scripture reminds me that God is faithful and can be counted on at all times in our lives. Hopefully, God finds you and I faithful and He can count on us when He needs a “Othniel or Ehud or Shamgar”!
Take a look today and discern how beautifully God is working in our background! To see that is to be encouraged!