This Old Testament book of Judges is one depressing book.
The Israelites follow God, and they are blessed. They turn from God, and everything falls apart.
Why do they keep doing that?!
We read their story and we ask, “why don’t they see what they’re doing!?”
Truth is, we are never guaranteed an easy life, and just like those Israelites, we can find ourselves complaining and taking things into our own hands when life gets difficult and things don’t go the way we’d like.
From the beginning of time until now– from Genesis and every day until today, we see these two reactions to a difficulty–people either turn to God or turn away.
Isn’t it all a matter of trust? We all want something we can trust in. We want assurance that even when times are tough, it will all be okay in the end.
That’s the part we tend to forget… this life is not the end. It’s only the beginning of our journey. Much of what we do here is temporal and will fade away.
“I know that all God does will last forever; there is no adding to it or taking from it.
God works so that people will be in awe of Him.”
Sometimes I find myself thinking, “does this really matter?” And, “In light of eternity, is this really worth getting stressed out about?”
We spend so much time pursuing things that bring only short-lived pleasure. We stress over things that really won’t matter long-term. Without God’s wisdom (seeing life from His perspective), our focus is clouded and our peace is threatened.
“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who cultivate peace.” James 3:17-18
I know I am guilty. Those days that I charge ahead of God usually end in regret. If we want to life a live without regret, we must be vigilant and repentant, keeping our eyes on Jesus.
I’m reminded to be careful about comparing myself to anyone else. Every person has a story. I have a story, and only the Lord knows my heart and motives. My only judge is The Righteous Judge, and He is the One that knows where I’ve been and where I’m going. He knows my fears, my struggles, my questions and my doubts. Only He has the answers to the deepest needs. I must choose to trust Him, even when others around me are not. Even when life’s difficulties move in and try to invade my space; and strangely enough–especially when my days are filled with joy and prosperity, because often those are the days that we tend to forget how much we need Him!
You see, the book of Judges says the Israelites, “did evil in the sight of the Lord”. What did they do that was so evil?
This final verse was the judgement. Their sin was this: They did whatever they wanted. Wow. How many days have I spent doing “whatever I wanted”? Many more than I care to admit, much more than I even realized. No wonder Jesus warns us of the danger of judging others! How easy it is for us to say, “How could they not see what they were doing?”–and then we have a hard time seeing that tendency in our own lives.
“Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged. For with the judgement you use, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:1-2
Aren’t you thankful that even difficult books like these God will use them to show us lessons that we might not learn any other way? I don’t know about you, but I certainly want to learn from other’s mistakes, and the Bible is full of those kinds of examples. The best part is that Jesus came to show us a better way. He always gives us clear direction when we ask.
” Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5
I hope I’m not alone in this Scripture Challenge, but regardless, I am thankful for all that I’m learning in the process– and will never regret memorizing God’s Word!