Living Our Faith

"And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice -- the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him." Romans 12:1

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Advent 7

Posted by on in Advent 2015
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Read Judges 2:6-23.

Throughout the time of Moses the people lived in the wilderness where they had nothing. Everything they needed to survive came from God's hand. Manna arrived in the morning, quail at night, and God even provided water from a rock. In a wilderness of rock and dirt and sand (and that's about it) there was no denying that they couldn't survive on their own. Everything around them was a reminder that their very existence depended upon the Lord. 

But it wasn't so in the Promised Land. It was a land flowing with milk and honey. And as some scholars suggest that description points to the fact that the land of Canaan could support life. It could produce vegetation, and support animals, and the people would be able to care for themselves. With that, though, comes some other challenges.

And that's what we see at the beginning of the book of the Judges. Once they don't have to rely on God for every little thing, they soon forget about God. They become complacent in the Promised Land and failed to live out their faith. The next generation didn't know the Lord. 

The next generation worshipped the Canaanite gods and God's anger burned. So God allowed the surrounding nations to plunder them, until His people called out to Him, and then He raised up judges to rescue His people. This is the recurring pattern throughout Judges. It's a tragic story to read how generation after generation the people make the same mistakes, turn from God, face the consequences, cry out to God, get rescued, and then the pattern starts over again.

But it's also a picture of grace. Over and over again God rescues His people. Although they might be quick to let go of God, He never lets them go. He allows them to be punished. He allows them to face the consequences of their sin. He allows them to freely choose against Him. Although all that brings Him pain, He allows it. And when they cry out to Him, and turn back to Him (which always hints at God's work in changing their hearts), He rushes in to save.

And so in the midst of all the tragic stories told throughout the book of Judges, there is yet hope. Because even though the people can't seem to keep themselves from sin, even though the pattern plays itself out so many times in much the same way, God doesn't let go. He holds on to them. He is their hope. And behind the scenes, that's the picture we get as readers. As long as God sticks with them, as long as God keeps turning them back, somehow hope will remain.

And it does. It always does. We need not look any farther than the manger in Bethlehem to be assured that God is always faithful to His promises (even when His people are not).

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