God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

March 31 - Judges 3-5: Othniel, Ehud, and Deborah

March 31
Today’s Reading: Judges 3-5

The Message

English Standard Version

Congratulations! You've made it a quarter of the way through the Bible! Keep going!

Thought to Guide Your Reading

God is showing the next generations of Israelites His power and ability to defeat their enemies.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

God left five kings to help Israel continue learning about war.
Israel cheated on God. Punishment? Serving Cushan-Rishathaim for eight years. Caleb's nephew Othniel saved them. Peace lasted 40 years.
Israel cheated on God again. Punishment? Serving Eglon 14 years. Ehud saved them by killing Eglon (a fat man). Peace lasted 80 years.
Israel continued doing evil. Punishment? Serving Jabin for 20 years. Deborah helped Barak lead against Sisera, the leader of Jabin's army. Jael, the wife of a Kenite, killed Sisera with a tent peg. Deborah and Barak sang a song of praise to God. Peace lasted 40 years.

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

God wants His Chosen People to remain ready for battle.

When 21st century Americans read this we think God continuing war is strange. Once again, this confusion is a situation of misunderstanding because of our time distance. The people of that day faced military forces that were often at war with each other. If they had peace for too long, Israel would grow, in the words of Deborah, "fat and sloppy" (5:7, The Message). God knew the people would be sitting ducks for any enemy. God wants His Chosen People to be ready to protect themselves in this world.

Israel blatantly disregarded God's commands about staying away from the people in Canaan.

God told Israel that if they intermarried Canaan's people they would serve Canaan's gods (Exodus 34:16). So here are the people giving their daughters to the people in Canaan and marrying their daughters. And Israel worship Canaan's gods. God punishes Israel. Do not marry people not wholly for God!

The judges were to show how God continued to love Israel.

God provided Othniel, Ehud, and Deborah to deliver His Chosen People from their captors. Israel needed to know how God still loved them. God will rescue His Chosen People when they are led into captivity.

God chosen both men and women as judges.

It is possible to make too much of this, to make having both male and females in leadership positions mandatory. What should be seen here is that God worked through Othniel, Ehud, and Deborah because they were willing to set things right for God's Chosen People. God can set all things right on this earth through anyone willing to obey Him.

Israel goes through cycles of generations who obey God and generations who do not.

God's people are not so fickle that they turn against God right away. It takes a generation or two to turn against God. But they always do. Faithfulness to God is not inherited. It must be learned.
It is this reason that people who complain about the USA going away from its foundation are right. The story of Israel gives ample evidence that generations do not follow in their ancestor's steps. The solution, however, is not to go back to their faith but to cry out to God to deliver us from our current sin and serve God again.

"Thus may all God's enemies perish, while his lovers be like the unclouded sun" (5:31, The Message).

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