Read His Words Before Ours!
If there is a book in the Bible that is just…strange.
One incredibly unique, mind-blowing ‘wow-that’s-weird’ story after another.
I mean, it’s opening verses tell of a king whose big toes and thumbs were cut off!
Judges tells the stories that would hit the tabloids with bold headlines and draw a crowd:
“Overweight king dies by a hand dagger!
Where’s the dagger? Enveloped by the king’s fatty abdomen!” (Judges 3:19-23)
“Random man walking out of his village, turns over his hometown to the enemy’s sword,
but is spared himself!” (Judges 1:22-26)
“Quick thinking woman kills seasoned army general by pounding a tent stake through his temple!” (Judges 4:21-22)
“Unknown man from weakest tribe seen tearing down Baal’s altars in the middle of the night! (Judges 6:27-29)
Tabloid headlines, read in our own culture as we walk through the checkout lines or scroll the internet, seem ridiculous and outlandish. We easily write them off as being scandalous, fake news with no other purpose than garnishing interest and inflaming readers.
The difference with Judges is that it had a very distinct purpose and there was nothing “fake news-like” about it. None of its stories, outlandish as they may seem, carried even a hint of falsehood.
As we read this Old Testament book of the Bible and study together in this Journey Theme,
we need to keep two things in mind:
1) God’s purposeful theme in Judges is to demonstrate His relentless love for His people
2) Every part of God’s Word is sacred and holy; it has been recorded and preserved for the intention of telling us more about Himself.
Yes, the stories feel weird.
Yes, they make us wrestle with our view of God.
Yes, they feel too shocking to be true.
But here’s the other great big, fat yes…..
These stories reflect the heart of a God, who has already and still does,
enter into our disastrous mess,
time after time after time,
for the purpose of relentlessly loving us.
His brilliant love is pursuing each of us personally and individually just as relentlessly as He pursued the ancient Jewish people thousands and thousands of years ago.
We read Judges and we see disaster. We see human sinfulness abounding. We see idiots making the same stupid choices over and over. If we look closely enough, we see us.
Theologians describe Judges as a book that spins on a cycle: (Judges 2:11-23)
Israel Serves the Lord –>
Israel Forgets the Lord and worships idols –>
Israel is Punished by the Lord –>
Israel Cries Out to the Lord –>
The Lord raises up a Judge to speak His Word and remind Israel of truth –>
Israel is delivered –>
and repeat for more than 300 years…..
What I absolutely love about the Word of God is that it never hides the ugly parts.
Scroll social media and “ugly” is pretty hard to find….
Struggling or broken marriages don’t make the Facebook newsfeed.
That ugly cry she had when a trigger phrase reminded her of the aching wounds inflicted by her father didn’t light up Instagram.
The grip of fear she felt as she watched the bank account continuously dwindle wasn’t shouted out on Twitter.
Ugly messes don’t take center stage in our Pinterest culture.
But God’s Word highlights humanity’s brokenness over and over
in different contexts,
and dramatic depictions
because WE ARE BROKEN PEOPLE.
If we do not understand how broken we are, we will never see our need for a Savior beyond ourselves. This is an exceptionally dangerous mindset to hold.
Because hear this, my sister across the screen, I, Rebecca Adams, am irreparably broken.
I’ve lied, I’ve taken the Lord’s name in vain, I’ve lusted in my heart (which Jesus said is the same as adultery), I’ve coveted another’s possessions, her beauty, and her popularity. I’ve been angry in my heart, which Jesus says is the same as murder; I have fallen short of the perfect glory of God.
And I am much too broken to fix myself. Perfection like God’s is utterly impossible.
In the middle of this mess I keep making, God pursues me with relentless love.
His brilliant brushstrokes of love keep coloring my mess, invading my brokenness, and making me new.
This is the story of Judges.
Our brokenness. His Pursuit.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!