Wednesday, June 29, 2011


The book of Judges is all about the people that God called to deliver the Israelites out of oppression. From my {very limited} understanding this covers a time period of the first few hundred years after the Israelites had taken over the promise land.

Remember back in Joshua, when they were conquering the land, and God said to drive out ALL the inhabitants, but they didn't... well this book is pretty much the result of them not doing that. In the first chapter, God tells his people that because they disobeyed him by not driving out the inhabitants, he would no longer drive them out for them, they would be thorns in their flesh.

Basically this is the cycle: The Israeli people live for and love God for a while, but eventually turn away from him and begin worshiping the gods of those original inhabitants, because they disobey God, they are turned over into slavery and are oppressed by other nations (remember Deut. 28), then they repent and God chooses one of his people to deliver them and restore them, they live happily ever after... at least for a few years, then again are enticed away from the one true God. This happened again and again... just going back and counting I quickly saw 11 or 12 judges! How patient and steadfast is our God to do this time and time again.?

One thing that stood out to me was who God chose to rise up and deliver his people. Many times it was the most unassuming people; Gideon was said to be the least person from the least tribe, Deborah was a woman- this was the first I had heard of a woman leading Gods people, and Jepthah who was a great warrior, but because his mother was a prostitute he was viewed as worthless by his own brothers. This really isn't surprising to me, as God sees people so differently than we see them, and by using someone the world deems weak it proves all the more how powerful God is, bringing him more glory. For the past few months it has been heavy on my heart to not judge others, and really try to see people as God sees them, to love them where they are at and who they are now, not conditionally.

Another thing that stood out to me was the book was quite gory!! {don't read on if you have a weak stomach} One of the first judges, Ehud, kills the king with a dagger, but the king is so fat that the dagger completely disappears in him and his guts fall out on the floor. When Deborah is judge, the commander flees and hides in a tent, but when he falls asleep, the woman of the tent drives a tent stake through his skull and into the ground. I was pretty grossed out several times while reading this book.

I really liked the story of Gideon, the lease from the least. Gideon was called to deliver the people but he was so unsure of himself, so he laid out the fleece to get a sign from God, and two different nights God proved himself to him. When Gideon rounded up the troops he had too many and people would say it was the huge army that had won the victory so God had him filter men out. The final filter was to have men drink from a spring, those who cup the water with the hands and lap it like a dog in one group, and those who kneel and drink from the water with their mouths in another group. 300 of the men drank with their hands and this is the group God used to deliver Israel from their oppressors. Again Gideon was doubtful so God told him to go into the camp and listen, there he overheard men discussing a dream and its interpretation which was that Gideon would have the victory. Gideon and his men surrounded the camp at night and blew their horns and raised their torches and swords, and the enemy was is such confusion they fought and killed each other. After defeating the enemies and delivering his people, they wanted Gideon and his future descendants to be their king, but he said he would not rule over them, that God would. I just felt like Gideon was a gentle meek soul and God treated him so tenderly, supporting his insecurities and doubt.

The most upsetting story for me was the one of Samson. I just felt like he was boastful, proud and arrogant... and stupid! Delilah THREE different times tried to get the secret to his strength from him, three different times he told her a lie then awoke to find she had attempted to use that to take away his strength and turn him over to the Philistines. After she had done this 3 times, he gives in and tells her the truth of his strength {his hair} so he awakes with his hair cut and no strength and is captured. In his despair he gouges out his own eyes {again gory}. I guess he gets some revenge because after his hair grows back in he knocks down the Philistine temple killing himself and more people with this act than he had his entire life.

After several cycles of judges I was thinking enough is enough! and in chapter 10 God does too, telling his people no, I won't rescue you anymore. But the people still serve him anyway. After some time of obedience God raises up another judge, Jeptha, the prostitutes son. The only sense I can make of God continuing to help his people is to look at myself as a mother, though my children often make me angry, or disobey, there is not a single thing that they could do to change my love for them. I do think that there would be a point where I could say, no I am not rescuing you any more, but if they were able to show that they were making better choices and making a change in themselves, I would again open my arms to support them. And because God's love is so much more infinite and unending than mine it really isn't hard to believe and even understand how he can continue to rescue his people.

Learned: How thankful I am that my God loves with out end, his patience and mercy endure for ever.

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