Catching up on the Bible
I’ve been delving into scripture a lot this year. One of my spiritual goals for 2021 is to read the whole Old Testament, but during my break in April, I had lost a lot of my momentum. As my break came to a close, I found myself catching up on my reading plan to get back to where I wanted to be. In hindsight, this was probably a good thing, because when I got to the book of Judges, I didn’t want to put it down. This was my first time reading Judges, and it was so much more exciting and intriguing than I had assumed it would be.
What Judges is Really About
With a name like “Judges,” I didn’t expect this book to be such a page-turner. The image that comes to my mind when I think of a judge is someone in a long black robe and a white wig. But the judges in the Bible were heroes who God raised up to fight for Israel. Although God’s chosen people had promised to be faithful to Him, they often forgot about their covenant with Him. After Israel had entered the Promised Land, it went through cycles of turning away from God, falling into sin, and becoming oppressed by other nations. Each time this happened, they would repent and call upon the Lord, and every time, He would raise up a judge to liberate Israel.
If you think that all of the judges were perfect examples of holy people who followed God closely, you might want to think again. God helped the judges do great things, but the judges weren’t always great people in the sight of the Lord. Some judges made idols, like how Gideon made an idol which Israel eventually worshipped as a god. Some judges gave into sin, like how Samson became violent and promiscuous. Some judges failed to know who God really is, like how Jepthah sacrificed his own daughter. Although they did some terrible things, God still used them as instruments of His justice. Despite their sins, He worked through them to liberate Israel.
Many passages in Judges shocked me, and I often asked myself “Why would they put that in the Bible?!” I never expected to read about so much murder, treachery, and sexual sin in one book of the Bible. But of course, God still works and does good through flawed people, and that’s what the book of Judges taught me. I learned that God can take the sin, challenges, and bad things in our lives and turn them into something good because He is the most good.
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Remembering Whose I Am
Reflecting on my own life recently, I haven’t been pursuing the good, at least not as much as I should. With my break after Easter, I fell into a prayer slump and neglected my much-needed time with God. I’ve found myself slacking with my responsibilities and choosing to be lazy. While this initially came from the need to rest, I let myself get carried away with my season of restfulness. I gave myself and inch, but I took a mile. I felt awful about myself for giving into acedia, but in His goodness, God brought me back to Him and reminded me of who I am and whose I am.
I recognized in Judges that God worked through the flawed judges of Israel. He works through imperfect people all the time, so He can easily work through me. God reminded me of my worth and my identity as His beloved daughter. He patiently waited for me to return to Him, and when I went to pray for the first time in a while, He was there and ready to welcome me home. After reading the book of Judges, I’m more confident in God. I know that nothing can overcome His goodness, and nothing I can do can exhaust His patience or His love for me.
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