This could get you down.

Readings Judges 3:38-15:12 

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Getting ready for the pancake breakfast.  🙂

Without realizing what a finished project would be like or used for, some might be prone to give up.

 

Dear cycle experts,

I am sure that you have been involved in different projects through the years that can really get you down if you keep focused on the mess in the middle.  Whether it is a term paper for school, a remodeling project in the home, a meal for a huge crowd, repairing a car, all of these can be overwhelming if we fail to see what the finished project will be like.  We must keep focused on the positive.

Just got done reading most of Judges.  Wow, that was depressing!  At least if I kept my eye on the men and women of the days written about in Judges.

A couple phrases reoccurred often: 

“Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD……..”

“In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.” 

“The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD; they forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asherahs.”

“The anger of the LORD burned against Israel so that he sold them into the hands of ………………………………….”

“But when they cried out to the LORD, he raised up for them a deliverer.”

Judges 2:16-19 summarizes the repeating cycle.

I am disgusted by the condition of man.  I have been disgusted by myself.  We are no different today.  We seem to continue to cycle as well.

What gives me hope is if I focus on the LORD in these passages.  Despite the continuous rebellion, turning to false gods, and doing whatever was right in their own eyes, God would continue to bail them out after He allowed another nation to take them over and oppress them.  Once He heard their cries it was hard for Him to refuse them because of His everlasting love for them.  There, let’s stay focused on this love!  This love produced a deliverer time and time again for Israel and it is this same love that ultimately showed itself to us in Jesus Christ and His death on the cross!

In Judge 10:16 we read, “And he could bear Israel’s misery no longer.”  Then he used unrighteous men and women (the women seemed more worthy than any of the men.) to free Israel from the oppression of their enemy.  He used a prostitutes son, a womanizer, a man of a “lowly” family, a woman in a “man’s ” world, a left handed man, a man too quick to make vows.  

In using these individuals we see the compassion of God, the sovereignty of God, the power of God, the mercy of God, the forgiveness of God, the …………………………………………………………  Israel did not deserve a deliverer, they deserved death.  We did not deserve a deliverer, we deserved death.  Praise God that He never changes.  His promises are promises.  As He promised Abraham in Genesis 12 that He would make a mighty nation out of him, and ultimately bring a deliverer, He came through on His promise.  God did not become so disgusted with mankind that He would break a promise.  He can not go back on His Word.  His love and compassion are endless.  His mercies are new every morning. 

Yet He is a Righteous God, a Holy God, a Just God, a consuming fire.  Make sure you are in right relationship with Him.  Come to Him on His terms!  Don’t worry, it is impossible yet simple.

If you are feeling down, don’t underline the bad things in Judges, just underline all that you see of God’s goodness.  If you are a follower of Christ, then you can turn to the New Testament and read of His death on the cross for you and me, about how Jesus has gone to prepare a place for you and me, how He began a good work in me and you and He is going to complete it, how He has placed His Spirit within us.  Read Ephesians 1, or Colossians 1, or I Peter 1.  Just read and enjoy.  Look at Revelation 21-22

Yes the things in Judges really happened.  The sin and rebellion in my life really happened.  But so did Jesus dying on the cross in my place.

Trust Him today.  Thank Him today that He can use you or me no matter what our circumstance, heritage, age, ability, or sin record.  Nothing is impossible with God.  Even Gideon with his lack of faith was used by God.  Just think of your little faith along with Christ within you!

Keep focused on the positive.  Fix your eyes on Jesus!  No need to keep cycling unless you are exercising your body.

Wanting to be used,

Steve

 

Questions to ponder.

How can the cycle in your life be stopped?   

What part does the “Church” play in your life, or should?

Are you involved in being discipled or discipling someone else?  If not, why not?

What reminders of God’s work in your life have you put in place?

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