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  • William T. Howe Ph.D.

March 18, 2024

Rēad to Read …Again


Daily Reading: Judges 1-2

 

Judges 2:22

That through them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of the Lord to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not.

 

The Lord needs to know who He can trust. Yes, He knows all things, but the free will of man, that may be an unknown to Him. This seems incongruent with all we know of the Lord, it’s a mystery. One that hopefully will become evident in eternity. Until then, know this, God proves people. Twice in Psalms it is said that He tries the reins (Psalm 7:9, 26:2). All the way back in Deuteronomy 13 God said that He allows false prophets that He may prove Israel. In Exodus 20:20 Moses told Israel that God is come to prove them.

 

This life is a proving ground. It is a place and time to prove to God our allegiance and obedience to Him. In the book of Judges, it is observed over and over again the failure of many of His people to live by faith and love Him unconditionally. In the pages of Judges, the stories of Othniel, Shamgar, Barak/Deborah, Gideon, Jephthah, Elon, Samson, and others are told. It’s an exciting read, filled with treachery, deceit, courage, and both victory and defeat. Basically, it is the same story repeatedly. The names of the Judges change, the names of the conquerors of Israel and Judah change, the ways and manners of defeat and victory change, but one thing doesn’t change. That one thing is that without God it is impossible to live a truly victorious and abundant life.

 

No wonder Jesus said: The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10) In this one simple verse the Lord lays out two possible life paths: one of the thief, and one of Him. The thief offers nothing but harm, confusion, and death. Jesus offers life and life more abundantly. The choice belongs to each person, for God does not eliminate the life led by the thief, nor does He conscript souls into His life. It is the free liberty of each person to choose.

 

The ongoing cycle that Israel experienced in the book of Judges is the same today. For certainly Solomon was right …there is no new thing under the sun… (Ecclesiastes 1:9). The sequence of events as given over and over in Judges is alive and well today. Captivity to the oppressor, crying out to God for deliverance, God raised up a Judge to restore the nation to Him, the Judge would pass off the scene, the people would again slip into disobedience, an oppressor would conquer them once again. This happens twelve times in about 350 years.

 

This one simple, action filled book proves two things: One is the ultimate failure of any group that chooses their own way over the way of God, and two, the absolute and continuing grace of God toward fallen, humbled, and hurting individuals.

 

Dr. William T. Howe

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