October 26, 2022
Thank you for your prayers for revival and for our prodigals. As we continue to pray for God’s working in our lives and in the lives of others, may this devotional be a source of encouragement.
The Book of Judges is discouraging. The sad expression, “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6, 21:25), is found twice in the book.
When everyone does what seems right to themselves and fails to acknowledge God in their lives, the end result is disaster.
How did the people of God get to the place where they lived for themselves and not for God? The answer is found in the early chapters of Judges.
And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died at the age of 110 years. And they buried him within the boundaries of his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in the hill country of Ephraim, north of the mountain of Gaash. And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel. (Judges 2:8-10)
There was a generation after the death of Joshua that did not know the LORD. They did not know His marvelous deeds. They did not know His great power and comforting presence. They did not know the joy of His victories nor the pleasure of trusting in His loving name. They did not bow before Him in worship and exalt His glorious person on high. Just extremely terrible words, “who did not know the LORD.” How incredibly sad!
One of the early commands that God gave His people back in Egypt was, “And when you come to the land that the LORD will give you, as he has promised, you shall keep this service. And when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’” (Exodus 12:25-26). This command was given at the Passover in Egypt.
The book of Judges opens with the failure of a generation of parents to tell their children about the greatness and faithfulness of God. Children generally ask a lot of questions about the daily practices of parents. As God’s people performed their tasks, children would curiously ask about them. In the time of the Judges, it appeared as if the adults didn’t tell their children of God’s faithfulness and didn’t live as God required. So the children grew up not knowing the LORD.
This is a good reminder for all of us to live in such a way that causes our children to ask questions about our practices and continually highlight in their minds the greatness of God.
Also, in Judges 2, the writer explains how the book describes the history of Israel. The people abandoned their God and served false gods. The anger of the LORD was aroused and Israel’s enemies dominated and plundered them. Responding to their distress, God would raise up a leader to deliver them from their bondage. Tragically, when the judge died, they would return to their sin and repeat the whole cycle over again.
There are 12 judges in the book including Otheriel, Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah (Barak), Gideon, Tola, Jair, Jephtha, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon, and Samson. (A devotional could be written on each of them, but I will save that for another time.)
This process of deliverance and departure depicted in Judges gives a visual of a life trapped in the cycle of sin. Thankfully, Jesus is our great deliverer and enables us to live victoriously for His glory.
Despite our tendency to sin, if we allow His power to work in us, victory can be a reality. Paul said, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25).
Only Christ can break the cycle of sin in our lives. Live in His love and seek His face today for present strength.
Love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel