Israel 2016

Israel 2016
Roman architectural influence in Bet Sean, Israel

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Canonical Reading Plan for Mar 19, Jdg 3-5

Today's readings are Jdg 3-5.

Some will find today's chapters interesting and challenging.

We heard about judges for Israel in Jdg 2:16-23. Jdg 3 begins a chronology of the judges God raises up.

The first thing we learn is that the nations allowed to remain among the Israelites will have a purpose; they will teach coming generations how to fight (Jdg 3:1-6)! God wants His people to be adept at war! Then comes a breathtaking pattern of events in which God's people repeatedly turn their backs on God, fall under oppression by another nation, cry out and are delivered through a redeemer (Jdg 3:7-31). 

Deborah's case is a curious one. Israel has done evil yet again and is oppressed by yet another king in Canaan (Jdg 4:1-3). She is clearly the leader of Israel (Jdg 4:4-6). Barak doesn't want to fight unless Deborah leads them. Barak defers to her in making strategic decisions, and she obviously has the authority to make them. Deborah gets credit for the victory then rightly gives glory to God (Jdg 3:14-16). Some call Barak passive claiming Deborah had to step in because Barak defaulted. Yet, Heb 11:32 names Barak among those in the "Hall of Faith."

Deborah’s victory song is revealing. Aside from the fact that we see a woman governmental/military leader being blessed by God (Jdg 5:10-11), we also hear that some of Israel’s tribes, notably Reuben, Gad, and Dan seem to have sat out of the conflict (Jdg 15b-17) and are judged harshly. In their lack of participation, we see early signs of tension among the tribes even though Deborah’s reign ushers in a time of peace (Jdg 5:31).

Throughout all the conflicts we see in these chapters, we also see the incredible grace and patience of our Lord as He continues to refine and sanctify His people, blessing them, even when they are unfaithful and follow after other gods, which they seem to do far too frequently.

We may not be oppressed by kings like Jabin, but each of us has a tendency to place things other than God in a place of higher priority and importance than Him. It's really easy for us to portray the same behavior and patterns Israel demonstrated. Praise God our sanctification is in His hands. The lesson we should learn is the same lesson God is teaching the Jews--there is always a price to pay for unfaithfulness.

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