Judges – a period of several hundred years of Israel’s history between the death of Joshua and the rule of Samuel. A time when people were ruled by individual people – judges – with a main role of expelling the enemy from the land. The scattered tribes were held together by their common faith – loyalty to God meant a strong united nation, turning to the false gods around brought weakness and division. Rebellion against God is usually followed by judgement – usually in the form of a foreign invasion – returning to God sees God forgive, God help them and God use them…
Telling stories of the amazing things God has done is so important. Judges 2:10 tells us
‘after that whole generation had been gathered to their father’s, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals. They forsook the Lord, the God of their Fathers, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshipped various god’s of the peoples around them… Whenever Israel went out to fight, the hand of the Lord was against them. They were in great distress.’
Maybe the Israelites needed the Facebook timeline! Maybe the nation needed a better handover to the next generation so that the history and what God had done for them would not be forgotten?
How does this relate to church life today – we need a better handover… Do church leaders hang on to the very end, failing to hand over to the next generation, and so forgetting what God has done in the past? I know of several churches who have closed down because the leadership has failed to handover to anyone else and when the leader dies the church dies.
As we will read next month in Ruth – the personal faith of many during this turbulent time for Israel stood strong. The leaders, and society in general, seemed to turn its back on God time and again – but God raised up individuals who knew him and stood against the flow of popular opinion.
Why not timeline your journey of faith? Timeline the way God has forgiven you, blessed you, used you, worked through you. I am currently writing a book on the history of Street Angels – CNI Network – reminding myself and others of the amazing history and way God has made the difference in communities through people serving him. Our lives and our ministry can so easily stray and a regular reminder that it is God who we serve keeps us on track!
In our current turbulent time as a nation stand against the flow of popular opinion and endeavour to speak God’s word of love, forgiveness, healing and restoration.
Judges is an important lesson for all of us – it isn’t easy reading, but is a strong reminder that it is God we serve and God should receive all the praise!