Wednesday, June 29, 2022

            Judges is a fascinating book to read.  We come across a variety of interesting people that God chooses or anoints to provide help and deliverance when Israel is in trouble.  As we read Judges, we discover a familiar pattern of behavior.  For a time, Israel is faithful to God.  Then Israel falls into sin and departs from God.  God punishes Israel by sending a neighboring country against them in battle.  Israel struggles and cries for help.  God then hears and raises up a judge.  Israel is delivered and returns to the Lord for a season.  And then Israel departs again.  We call this Israel’s “cycle of sin” or “cycle of apostasy.”  Judges 3:9 says, “But when they cried out to the Lord, He raised up for them a deliverer.”  The people often ignored the Lord until they realized they were in trouble and needed help.  We can be guilty of the same practices—I know I can. 
            We can often identify with this pattern of behavior.  We can easily fall into a cycle of sin, struggle, repentance, forgiveness, renewal and sin again.  And at the first indication of struggle or suffering, we call out to the Lord for help and deliverance.  One of the more interesting judges is Gideon.  There were two powerful assurances offered to Gideon as he worked to serve God and His people.  An angel of the LORD promised the following to Gideon, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior” (Judges 6:12b).  Shortly later, the LORD Himself said to Gideon, “I will be with you, and you will strike down the Midianites as if they were but one man” (Judges 6:16). Twice, God assured Gideon that He was with him and would remain with him.  Two assurances from God in the span of a chapter or an afternoon are powerful indeed.
            We can take comfort in knowing that the Lord God is with us as well—in sorrow or celebration, certainty or confusion, day or night.  God is with us in anxious times and in confident times.  Psalm 56:3-4 says, “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.  In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid.  What can mortal man do to me?”  God’s presence with His people is a recurring theme in Scripture.  This reality is a faith-building certainty.  Just as we use raw materials to build a house or an office, we also use raw materials to build our faith.  The raw materials we use are the promises and assurances that God offers us in His Word.  We can trust His promises and build with the certainties that He offers to us.
            Whether we are walking with the Lord or simply struggling with where He is or even if we find ourselves in sin and rebellion, we know that we can call upon Him.  He still forgives, encourages, helps, comforts and convicts.  We trust that God is able to do whatever needs to be done at the moment we call upon Him.  A child looks to his parents to provide exactly what is needed and when it is needed.  Likewise, we look to our Father to provide for us when we are in need.  If you find yourself in a cycle of victory, struggle and failure, seek the Lord today.  Ask for His help to break that cycle and struggle once and for all.  Victories are often won a day at a time or a step at a time.  But as we walk with the Lord, we trust Him for victory just as Israel did in the days of the Judges.  Have a great Tuesday!

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