The Radical Experiment has brought us to the book of Judges. I’ve previously never read the entire book–parts, like, Samson, of course, Deborah and Jael and Sisera (I still can perfectly picture one of my children’s Bibles with a picture of Sisera sleeping and Jael in the background with a tent peg and hammer that’s she about to jam into his temple–yeahhh nice children’s Bible…the old testament really is not kid friendly…it’s kinda been giving me nightmares for the past couple nights, not gonna lie ha—the other night I dreamt that a war was going on in my house/the church where I sing at…lots of blood and lots of dead bodies. Thank you Joshua.) And, of course, the story of Ehud for a good gag reflex and Shamgar because he has one verse that makes him awesome.
Anyway, I’ll keep this short. These are just some thoughts as I’ve been reading.
First of all, Judges is incredibly heartbreaking. It serves as a constant reminder of our apostasy towards God and his never ending mercy and unconditional love towards us. When we’re in the midst of our sin we don’t tend to see the big picture, or how we’re hurting and disobeying God. As Judges states ever so often, “They did what was right in their own eyes.” How often we do what we think is right, not caring what God says is right.
I see myself in the Israelites as they continue to whore after other gods, disregarding the faithful loving God who has brought them so far…not because of anything that they had done, or righteous acts they had committed, but, because they were his chosen people whom he had made a covenant with and whom he loved.
I see myself because how often I whore after other gods. The gods of beauty and pride and affirmation from man and money and possessions and marriage and laziness and apathy and self, etc. How often I put myself on a grand pedestal, bowing down to an image of myself I have created, praising my name and belittling God’s.
There is a cycle that happens almost in every chapter of Judges.
1) Apostasy: the Israelites do what is evil in the sight of the Lord
2) Servitude: God allows the nation to be conquered and oppressed by a neighboring nation
3) supplication: the people cry out to God
4) salvation: God sends a judge to deliver the Israelites.
…then it goes back to 1 and starts all over again.
What came to mind as I looked at this cycle was…
1) Apostasy: We have done what is evil in the sight of the Lord. We all have sinned beginning with the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden. We have disobeyed a holy righteous God and our punishment is death. Physical death, for we will all die. And spiritual death and eternal separation from God.
2)Servitude: I think of Ephesians 2:1-3 “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience–among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath like the rest of mankind.” and Romans 6:17 “But thanks be to God that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed…” We, after the fall, became slaves to sin. We follow the “prince of the power of the air” aka Satan. We are dominated by Satan and are “sons of disobedience”. We belong to a family that rebels against the one true God. This is all by nature. This isn’t something we obtain after being born and doing a lot of bad things. We are born this way. As sons and daughters of Adam, we are born into this fallen state and are subject to the condemnation and righteous judgement of God. We are “children of wrath”. Our hearts are evil and we, by nature, are evil and at enmity with God. We are slaves and under servitude of the wrong master.
3) Supplication: If by the grace and mercy of God, he draws us to him and shines his light into our hearts allowing us to see the beauty and truth and glory of the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we cry out to him, confessing our sins against him and admitting our desperate need for him in our lives and trust in Jesus Christ’s righteousness alone to save us.
4) Salvation: Titus 3:4-7 “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration [rebirth] and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
God provided the ultimate Savior for us in Jesus, not just a temporary one in a judge. Jesus died for our sins, bore the wrath of God so we didn’t have to, was buried, and rose from the grave three days later, conquering death and sin. If we accept this and believe this, God gives us a new heart. We are reborn. We die to our selves who once lived as slaves to sin and are made alive in Christ to become slaves to righteousness. We are given a believing heart of flesh that is eagerly molded and sanctified and made more and more into the likeness of Christ. God saves us by his grace and his love and his mercy.
I don’t know. Maybe that’s all a stretch, but that’s just what came to mind when I was reading.
Today’s Good Friday. A good Friday indeed. Man, I’m so thankful for the cross. What grace.
I’ll leave you with this hymn.
When I survey the wondrous cross
on which the Prince of Glory died;
my richest gain I count but loss,
and pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
save in the death of Christ, my God;
all the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to his blood.
See, from his head, his hands, his feet,
sorrow and love flow mingled down.
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
or thorns compose so rich a crown.
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
that were an offering far too small;
love so amazing, so divine,
demands my soul, my life, my all.