Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Arc de Triumph

Friday, April 1, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for April 2, Judges 10-12

Today's readings are Judges 10-12. Tomorrow's are Judges 13-15. 

Notice as we continue in Judges, that the people Israel did not drive out or utterly destroy become problems. The first tribes to struggle are the those that opted to settle East of the Jordan instead of going into the Promised Land. They live in proximity to and among the Moabites. the Syrians (Bashan) and the Ammonites. Israel also struggles with the nations they failed to dispossess, the Philistines to the West and the Sidonians. 

The longer Israel allows these others to live among them, the more Israel drifts toward their gods. God leaves Israel to their own devices for a while but always sends a deliverer. 

A few notes about the various stories. 

We see how fickle Israel is in Jephthah's story. They ostracize him, plead for him to help then turn on him again after he helps. Israel is so confused by then that they are fighting the enemy and fighting themselves as well. 

Jephthah's vow and the sacrifice of his daughter is a tragic and odd tale. But, God never asked Jephthah to give Him anything. The vow Jephthah made was strictly one-sided. We know from archaeological evidence, that most houses had a room for livestock on the ground level, to keep them safe at night. Jephthah probably assumed an animal would come out of his house. Instead. it was his daughter. We all know human sacrifice is contrary to God's law. But, Jephthah feels he has obligated himself even though God never speaks a word about it. It's a sad tale and a lesson not to make promises to God or bargain with Him to get what we want. 

Donkeys are mentioned a few times. They, and many sons, are a sign of blessing and wealth in that culture. 

Pronunciation of "Shibboleth" had regional differences in much the same way the pronunciation of "ambulance" does. Some folks accent the first syllable of  "ambulance", some the last. 

All in all, we see Israel exhibiting a breath-taking fickleness toward God. It gets worse! We should learn from this the value of a consistent walk, the exercise of spiritual disciplines (prayer, reading, etc) and our need to be constantly wary about what the world around us draws us into. We should never take our walk lightly or for granted, always aware that "some participation is required". There is always a price to pay for drifting from God. He is faithful to redeem but we don't know when and the time in between can be very painful.

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