Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Book of Judges

I miss Gary alot, for all the flack I give him, for all the mushiness we don't like to show in public, I know that he's the better half this marriage.  Maybe everyone in a good marriage thinks the other one is the better half, maybe that's part of what makes a good marriage last till death do we part (and I don't mean the till-I-can't-stand-it-anymore-and-kill-my-spouse kind either).  I am continually amazed that he sticks around, and maybe even more so that he always wants to stick around.  (I promise this has to do with the book of Judges, give me a minute.)

This week I finished up my reading in the book of Judges.  The overall message that kept hitting home to me was that Isreal has this vicious cycle.  Things are going great, everyone gradually forgets about God, does "that which is right in his own eyes", the enemies overwhelm and oppress the people, they cry out to God, He sends a Judge to deliver them, things are going great again, everyone gradually forgets, you get the picture.

I'm continually amazed that Gary wants to be with us.  He drove roughly 17 hours round trip last weekend to be here 36 hours, and a chunk of that he was asleep.  I mean he really wants to be with us.  I mean, let's face it, I know I'm not the easiest person to live with.  I know my own failings.  I'm selfish and demanding, I'm a perfectionist and impatient, I can be overly emotional, I worry and over analyze everything, I care entirely too much about what everyone else thinks, I sometimes have a temper.  I struggle with depression and resentfulness.  I mean, some days I don't want to live with me, so I can't say it enough, I'm continually amazed that he sticks around.  And not just that he's obligated because he gave his word before God when we got married, but that he WANTS to stick around.

Sometimes I can hide some of these things from Gary.  And sometimes, as much as I wish he was a mind reader, or that I could just let him see what/how I'm thinking, it's really a good thing that he doesn't know what I'm thinking.  I'm even more amazed that God, who knows my faults even better than I do, from whom we have no secrets, I'm even more amazed that He could continue to love me.  See I'm like Israel  and I know it.  It's so easy to go, why in the world in the roughly 325 year that the book of Judges covers, and all of the history of the Children of Israel in general, why in the world couldn't they get their act together.  Does anyone ever actually learn from history?  It would be easy to say that and act like we could do so much better, but when I'm honest with myself that's me.  Time and time again, I fall into the same old faults.

But there's some hope, look at the people that the Lord used in such might ways.  Those twelve judges weren't perfect either.  For example, Gideon while turning down the kingship, was a bit greedy and materialistic getting all these earrings as payment for what he had done.  He then makes an ephod that later leads a whole group of Israelites into idolatry.  He also has a son by a concubine that later kills 69 out of 70 of his half brothers.  Then Jephthah makes a foolish vow to offer as a burnt sacrifice whatever greets him at home, and has to sacrifice his daughter.  He also gets angry with a fellow tribe and ends up killing 42,000 Ephraimites.  Then of course there is Sampson, perhaps the most mighty of the judges and yet probably the least moral.  He marries a Philistine contrary to God's law.  He has temper and often kills in a rage, rather than only carrying out judgement as necessary when commanded of God.  and until, the end he never once credits God as the source of his strength.  Then of course there is the case of Delilah, a no good woman, who he knows is no good, and yet he allows her to be his undoing.

I suppose the overall message from the Book of Judges is that despite our failings and shortcomings, despite the fact that God allows us to feel the consequences of our actions, despite His judgement and chastisement  He is always there to deliver us when we turn back to Him.  In Judges 10:10-16 you can see the summary of the whole book, the people cry out and God tells them He is through with them, but they cry out again, and forsake their idol worship to serve Him again.  Then "His soul is grieved for the misery of Israel" and he sends another deliverer.

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