Peace be with you!
As we enter the story in the book of Judges, the Israelites are well in the midst of a terrible cycle: abandoning God when life is good and then running and crying to God when life gets difficult. The book of Judges follows this theme and shows how God rescues the Israelites by raising up judges.
In the grand scheme of life, not much has changed since the time of the Israelites. Our behaviors have not changed. When life is going smoothly, we stand on our own two feet and push God aside. We forget we need God for everything; we think we are in charge and have things under control. Somewhere along the way, we push aside our core values and start allowing outside influences to direct how we act and talk. God allows us to go our own way and lets us live with the consequences.
When the Israelites would start doing evil things, God would allow foreign leaders to conquer and oppress the Israelites. In our reading, the Israelites do evil things and God gives them to King Jabin of Canaan (Judges 4:1-2). God gives us the power to make our own decisions, but it means we have to deal with the consequences. The Israelites choose to abandon God and go against his commandments. God lets King Jabin to conquer and oppress them.
But as soon as life gets rocky, we run crying to God for help. The Israelites cry out to God (Judges 4:3) when they realize they were wrong to abandon God. The Israelites realize they need God’s protection from their enemies. Then God answers the Israelites’ cries by raising up a judge, Deborah, who leads them as a military leader (Judges 4:6-7). Deborah delivers the Israelites from King Jabin (Judges 4:24).
Then Deborah sings praises to God for allowing her to conquer King Jabin and deliver the Israelites from the oppression. The Israelites return to the ways of the Lord.
When we repent and return to the ways of God the Father, he forgives us for our trespasses. We give him glory for saving us from the way of the world. In the Old Testament, the Israelites had to make sacrifices to be right with God, but when he sent Jesus Christ to die for our sins forgiveness became free. God has always been a forgiving God, though through Jesus Christ we receive forgiveness freely when we repent.
Thanks be to God!
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for repeatedly extending forgiveness to us when we repent. Help us to live according to your ways. Lead us to do your will in the world. Thank you for always being there when we cry out. Amen.
Please answer the following reflective questions in the comments below. Please agree to disagree and be respectful to each other. (If you have not already done so, please also take a moment, to sign the behavior covenant by commenting on it.) You can answer as many questions as you would like.
- When have you cried out to the Lord?
- How have you shared God’s forgiveness with others?