Our God is merciful and rescues us
I am over halfway through Judges; not reading this book too slowly or at the pace I should for a 6 month reading plan, but steady and consistent. I guess I am plodding along! Anyway, scores on the doors, what have I learnt? Well, after Abimelek, Tola rose to save Israel. He led Israel for 23 years. He was followed by Jair who led Israel for 22 years. Again the Israelites did evil in God’s eyes, serving other gods. The Lord was angry and the Israelites were sold into the hands of the Philistines and the Ammonites. The Israelites were oppressed for 18 years until they cried out to the Lord. They asked God to rescue them and they got rid of their gods and then God showed mercy and came to their rescue.
The next leader is a great warrior called Jephthah who’s mother was a prostitute and who was chased out by all his half brothers from his home and land when he was growing up. The elders of Israel called upon Jephthah to help them fight against the Ammonites and promised he could become their ruler and he was for six years.
In Judges 11:29-31, Jephthah makes a rather rash vow to God all in the heat of the moment. He promised to offer as a sacrifice whoever comes out of his house to meet him if God would give him victory in battle. We find out in Judges 11:34 that his daughter comes out to meet him which was not what Jephthah or his daughter wanted.
Wow, a lot going on! We learn that God is a merciful, forgiving God who wants to rescue us, but if only we, like the Israelites would listen to Him, obey Him, then we wouldn’t get ourselves in such a mess. If only we would seek God first, rather than a last resort we wouldn’t have to, like the Israelites experience such unnecessary pain and suffering. We need to turn to God first in all our situations. God has all that we need to deal with all our problems, no matter how small or big.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1)
The scripture that comes to mind is Psalm 23 which sums up our God – ‘The Lord is my shepherd’, ‘He guides me along the right paths’, ‘even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil for you are with me’, ‘Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life’
Psalm 23, so beautiful, so encouraging, so worth reading over and over again, so worth memorising.
Thank you Lord that you are my shepherd and you are always with me.