Monday, June 10
Today's reading: Judges 10:1-18
After Abimelech exits the scene, Tola and Jair judge Israel back-to-back for a total of 45 years. We aren't told much about these two judges, but sometimes what we're not told is as revealing as what we are told, and I believe that's the case here. There's no mention of following after God, or for that matter, God at all in connection with either of these judges. This lack of discussion is an indicator that the Jewish people were, once again, experiencing spiritual drifting away from God.
As soon as Jair dies and Israel is without a judge, that drift turns into a complete turning away from God. Judges 10:6 tells us, "The people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the LORD." So God then "sells" the Israelites into the hands of the Philistines and Ammonites under whom they are severely oppressed.
What we're told in verse 8 truly reveals how far the Israelites had moved away from God. It says, "For eighteen years they [the Ammonites] oppressed all the people of Israel who were beyond the Jordan in the land of the Amorites, which is in Gilead." So the Israelites endured severe oppression for 18 years, before they cried out to God--18 years! And it's not until God refuses to come to their immediate rescue and reminds them of their rebellious hearts that they finally "put away the foreign gods from among them and served the LORD" (vs. 16).
What an eye-opening passage. The Israelites didn't really want to live for God. They wanted to live for themselves (thus the 18 years of suffering as they tried to manage life themselves). And when they finally did call out to God, they treated Him as a "problem fixer" instead of the ultimate Ruler, Authority and Guide for their lives.
What's one thing you noticed or learned from the Israelites' example about our human nature? How we view of God? Our propensity to go after other gods? What did God impress on your heart after reading this account? Tami
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