21st March: Judges 1 – 3 – Everything seemed to be going so well …

Judges

1:1-2:5 – ‘You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth? (Galatians 5:7). Everything seems to be going well – ‘From victory to victory His army He shall lead till every foe is vanquished and Christ is Lord indeed’ (1-18; Church Hymnary, 481). Things went badly wrong. God commanded His people to ‘drive out’ His enemies. Again and again, they failed (19,21,27-33). This failure brought a stern rebuke from ‘the angel of the Lord’. God had blessed His people. Now, He has to rebuke them – ‘you have not obeyed my command’. Read of Israel’s weeping, and pray for this: Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation’ (2:1-5; 2 Corinthians 7:10). ‘Strong in the Lord…’ let us ‘tread all the powers of darkness down…and stand complete at last’ (Church Hymnary, 441).

2 6-3:31 – What sadness there is in the words of 2:10 – ‘there arose another generation…who did not know the Lord…’! As the generations pass, we must pass on the Gospel of Christ, praying that those who follow after us will ‘know the Lord’. In Isaiah 30:21, God says, ‘This is the way, walk in it’. Here, in the sin and shame of Israel, He warns us, ‘This is not the way, do not walk in it’ (2:11-15). Don’t be conformed to this world, ‘entangled’ in its ways (3:5-7; Romans 12:2; 2 Timothy 2:4). God is angry with His rebellious people, but He does not cease to love them – ‘the Lord raised up a deliverer for the people of Israel (3:8-9). Read of the deliverers – Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar – and rejoice in our greater Deliverer: ‘Jesus…He will save His people from their sins’ (3:9,15,31; Matthew 1:21).

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