A Quick Thought From Judges
In our Monday Men’s Group we have been studying the book of Judges, which has so far been fantastic (at least it has been for me, though I can’t speak for the others in attendance). One of the things I shared as I promo’d the men’s group study was my own hesitations with the book of Judges. It’s so brutal. The stories sometimes leave room for wondering if the person did the right thing or the wrong thing. And the heroes often seem more like anti-heroes. I was hoping for the Lord to help me see Him more clearly in the book of Judges. And I am so grateful to be able to say that, so far, He has answered that hope!
We have only met for two weeks now, and we’ve finished studying through Judges Chapter 5. We just read and talked together last night about the story of Deborah, who God raised up to be the leader of Israel for a time. In chapter 4 we see the story of God saving his people from the Canaanites who were “cruelly oppressing” them. If you read the story (I highly recommend it!), you see God’s mighty hand in giving victory to Israel. And, as you may recall, the end of the story includes a wild detail involving a woman named Jael, a hammer, and a tent peg – ouch!
In chapter 5 Deborah and Barak sing a song in commemoration and celebration of all that God has done. It’s an incredible testimony. Primarily the song is a song of praise to the Lord. But there is also mention of the people who fought valiantly to secure the victory for Israel. And then things get a bit uncomfortable in verses 15b-17, and again in verse 23, where there is a note about the people who chose to not join the battle. The tribes of Reuben and Dan were no-shows. They had more important matters to attend to. And the people of Meroz chose to sit it out, as well. And their decisions to refrain from the battle was also commemorated in the text, though unceremoniously so.
It was clear in the story that God was the one who provided the victory. But it was also clear that it mattered that God’s people went out to fight. One man in the group last night made the comment to the effect of “I don’t want to be like Reuben… sitting by the fire and avoiding the battle God has called me into.” Oh, me too! When and where the Lord leads, I want to be fully engaged, not just “sitting around the campfire” like the Reubenites or “lingering by the ships” like the Danites. No, I want it to be true that I laid my life on the line and gave all I had to serve the Lord, just like Zebulun and Naphtali.
I’d sure encourage you to take a few minutes, if you can, to read the story and song found in Judges 4 & 5 and to be thankful for our mighty God, and to also be encouraged to consider what it might look like to make sure you also are engaged in the work God has called you into, rather than sitting comfortably and safely around the campfire.
Next Monday night we jump into the story of Gideon in Judges Ch. 6. Men, if you’d ever want to join us, even if just for one week, come any of the next six Mondays at 7:00 upstairs in the Youth Room. We have six more weeks until we break for the summer, so think about giving it a go with us as we dig further into the book of Judges.
Pastor Ryan D.