Sunday, September 29, 2013

Judges 3:7

Our pastor has been doing a series of sermons on the book of Judges recently entitled "Fallen People, Faithful God".  It's been a great series.  (the picture above was swiped from the church website....hope they won't mind me 'borrowing it)

This morning, as we began chapter 3, Ross read a verse that leapt off the page at me.  I was reminded of the time not so long ago that I spent trudging through the book of Judges.  It's a hard book to read, y'all.  The Israelites made me mad when I read it.  Or rather they just exhausted me.  Friends, it will wear you out to read about their behavior and how they do the same crap over & over again, never learning their lesson.  I read it looking at them through the eyes of a parent who has taught & retaught her children again and again.  But this morning, Judges 3:7 jumped up & slapped me.

In Judges 3:7, our pastor read "The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord; they forgot their God and served the Baals and Asherahs."

It reminded me of these verses, all found in Judges:

Judges 1:19:  "But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their ancestors, following other gods and serving and worshiping them. They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways."

Judges 4:1:  "Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, now that Ehud was dead."

Judges 6:1: " The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites"

Judges 8:33-35: " No sooner had Gideon died than the Israelites again prostituted themselves to the Baals. They set up Baal-Berith as their god and did not remember the Lord their God, who had rescued them from the hands of all their enemies on every side. They also failed to show any loyalty to the family of Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) in spite of all the good things he had done for them."  

Judges 10:6: "Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord. They served the Baals and the Ashtoreths, and the gods of Aram, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the Ammonites and the gods of the Philistines."

You get the idea.  On and on, from chapter to chapter, this pattern continues.  The people forget God & begin to worship something else.  God gives them over to their enemies.  Eventually the people realize how far they've moved from God and are reminded of His great mercy, His grace and His blessings.  They run back to Him, seek His redemption and forgiveness and are reconciled to Him.  And then it starts all over again.

Oh. My. Word.

Sound familiar?  It does to me.

I find myself, over the years, falling into the same patterns again and again.   The same doubts, the same sin areas, the same battles.  It's exhausting.

Lord, break the cycle.  Break me. 

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