Well, that chapter from The Story was…interesting. Reading about all the violence and slaughter of Canaanite armies by the Israelites was difficult, as it just doesn’t seem to line up with the picture we have of God. So, what are we to make of it all? Well, Dr. Lawson Stone from Asbury Seminary has put together three short videos that explain things much better than I can. I highly recommend them to you:
Now we move on to Ch. 8, the time of Judges in Israel’s history. This is a period between tribal leadership and monarchy, and judges were people that God called to get the people back on track and lead them faithfully toward God. This Sunday we’ll focus our attention on three of these judges to see what we can learn and apply to our lives. As you are reading, you’ve probably noticed a cycle that keeps getting repeated over and over. The people “do evil in the eyes of the Lord;” God gives them over to an enemy; God then raises up a judge to bring the people back to God; the people repent and turn their hearts back to the Lord; God blesses them with peace; the judge dies, and the people go back to doing evil in the eyes of the Lord.
What do we make of this cycle? It tells me we have short memories and wandering hearts. If we’re not intentional and focused, we can easily allow the idols and gods of this world to draw us away from God and away from the life God is calling us to. It also tells me that God is never through with us. So often, we incorrectly label God as the Old Testament God of judgment and war and the New Testament God of mercy and peace. It’s important to remember God is God; the God of the Old Testament is the God of the New Testament, and this God is described well for us in Psalm 103. I invite you to read this entire Psalm today, but let me finish by highlighting one verse, v. 8:
The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
I thank God for that promise today! Take care and see you Sunday. Don’t forget that we have adjusted our COVID policy and moved to “mask-optional” for worship, so if that has been keeping you from attending, I hope you’ll make the move from online to in-person this Sunday – see you there!