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

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

April 3 - Judges 10-12: Tola, Jair, Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon

Today’s Reading: Judges 10-12

The Message

English Standard Version

Thought to Guide Your Reading

God decided to no longer save Israel.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

Tola judged Israel 23 years. Next was Jair for 22 years. After he died Israel returned other gods. Punishment? Philistine and Ammonite torment for 18 years. Israel cried out for salvation. God ignored them until they purified their houses.
Jephthah, an illegitimate child chased from his home, was called back to lead Gilead's army with Ammonites at the gate. The Ammonites would not negotiate. Jephthah defeated them. He made an unfortunate vow forcing him to sacrifice his only daughter.
Ephraim and Gilead quarreled and fought. Jephthah judged six years.
Next, Ibzan judged for seven years, Elon for ten, Abdon eight.

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

God tells Israel to cry out to their foreign gods.

After two judges had uneventful careers (at least recorded), Israel returned to its old ways. God has had enough of these people that He tells them, "I'm not saving you anymore. Go ahead! Cry out for help to the gods you've chosen - let them get you out of the mess you're in!" (10:12-13, The Message). As a Christian, this is scary! God is basically telling them if they think the Baal gods and Ashtoreth goddesses are their protection in good times then they should also be their gods in bad times. God is willing to allow you to worship other gods in good times and in bad! However, do not expect God to save you.

God hears Israel's cry when they clean out their house of foreign gods.

Lest we think the Israelites are forever forsaken by God, Judges continues. Israel repents of their spiritual adultery by cleaning out their homes. So God hears their cry and provides Jephthah to save them.

God provides Israel with another example of God being willing to use anyone willing to obey Him.

Jephthah is not a powerful man. He is an outcast—the son of a prostitute and a rich man who could afford to toss him away. Yet God was willing to use Jephthah because he would follow God. God can use anyone who will obey Him to set things right on the earth.

God never gives approval to Jephthah's vow or the sacrifice of his daughter.

For me, this story is here to caution against hasty vows. God does not want child sacrifice (Leviticus 10, Deuteronomy 18, Jeremiah 7). Jephthah is not offering his daughter because of God's Law. He is doing this because he made a hasty vow. Be careful with your words, you may forever regret your mistake!

How have your words gotten you into trouble?


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