First things first, we’ll read Judges 11-15 until next Friday. If you read all 5 chapters this past week for chapters 6-10 then pat yourself on the back or buy yourself a chocolate bar. It was a little long compared to the past few we’ve done. :)
I do not feel ready to write anything. I don’t feel that I really learned much except for a lot of names I can’t pronounce and Jair the judge having 30 sons, on 30 donkeys, in 30 towns (isn’t that catchy?). Abimelech was a scary guy. Glad I’m not related. Can you imagine killing 70 of your relations. How does a person get to that point?!? Actually, I can answer my own question. The way someone gets to that point is explained for us all the way through this book. You fall away from the Lord and start doing things your own way. It gets worse and worse from there and generations go by until you end up so far from your God that you end up an Abimelech and you should start keeping your head up watching for those millstones being aimed at your head. Not a good way to go.
One thing that I was talking to Charmin about is the story of Gideon. It wasn’t quite what I remembered from my Sunday school class way back when. I’m not even sure that I have ever read this one for myself before. I was so disappointed to find out what manner of man Gideon was. As I explained to Charmin a bit of my thoughts about him being right in there and serving false gods, the Lord speaking to him and he obeyed and had victory, but then immediately turned back to his old ways again. From Charmin’s reaction to what I’d said I knew right away she didn’t agree. :) After she explained a bit of what she got out of it (which I’m hoping she’ll put in her review) I read it with a new way of thinking. Here’s what I think….
Gideon was doing the false gods thing along with everyone else around. God wasn’t going to let them continue on and had pity on His people for the bad shape they were in because of their enemies. The angel of the Lord comes and gives Gideon direction and he obeys. He’s scared and asks over and over again for reassurance that it’s going to be okay, but he does obey and God blesses. Then, with good intentions he makes an ephod, a symbol to remember what God has done, to put up in the city. The thing is that everyone around is so used to worshiping things instead of God that they start looking at the pretty gold thing up there on the altar as the thing to treasure and before you know it, everyone is back to where they started and maybe a little worse off. One good man making one bad choice led the whole people astray again.
The new way of thinking brought me to understand that God can use anything or anyone for his purposes and for that I should be very grateful. For all the times I mess up in a day the stories in Judges should keep me going with faith in God’s mercy and patience with His people. We don’t have to be perfect or reach a certain spiritual plateau to be used of God. What I need to realize is that reading through our Bibles there really aren’t too many examples of men or women who didn’t mess up big time when they really should have known better. I just like my ‘heros’ to be all about doing the right thing all the time, never messing up. I want to know that it can be done. It has to be possible to be faithful to God through it all. That is what is disappointing, there’s no perfect ending. It is a comfort to know that Gideon wasn’t a bad guy. He meant to do what was right and he was a humble man, courageous and the people didn’t fall away from the Lord again until after he was gone which meant that he ruled them well.
So it’s a lesson in the tremendous mercy of God for a fallen creature like me. Thankfulness for Him bringing me back each time I start wondering off and not giving up on me yet. And also a lesson to learn from those in the past. These scriptures are here for us to read as a warning to not fall into sin as they did. We’ve been forewarned about consequences of our sin and how easy it is to forget our God while we live among a Godless society.
Gideon certainly liked his women! 70 sons, who knows how many daughters, and many wives and some concubines as well. Seriously.
So, there is my not so well thought out review. I really need to read all of yours so I’ll be waiting ever so patiently to see the names pop up on Mr. LInky. :)