The story of the covenant people of God in Genesis is a story of God's faithfulness to a people who are fighting to survive. They are exiles, sojourners, almost everywhere they go, and they face the steepest odds in every land - not to mention the odds they lengthen through their own sin - and yet they cling to a promise that God will sustain them, bless them, increase them, and get them home. That is the story arc of all of the people of God, but we forgot the whole exiles and sojourners part of it.
Much like David, I know what it feels like to wait for the Lord. His timing and mine don’t seem to work off the same clock and there have been long seasons in my life when I have wondered what He was up to, or if He was even still there. Much like David, I can testify that He always answers, and He always pulls me up out of the mud and mire that I have gotten myself into.
The rest of the world can be turned on its head, but look at this Jesus! I will forever be spellbound by this story of the sacrifice of this Jesus of Nazareth. When things around the edges of Christian culture seem confusing or embarrassing and I feel myself tempted to walk away from association with those who bear His name, this image of Jesus pulls me back in awe. This Jesus, who did this, for me ... for us.
In this season of extreme refining for the people of the world, we have an opportunity to realign where we put our trust. For many of us, our temptation is to look to the very things that enslaved us for years, without looking to our Lord or even consulting Him on what to do next.
In the midst of the global suffering occurring through COVID-19, we once again find ourselves with the questions of Job and his friends. We want to know how God works, and we want simple answers for what He is doing in the world. While many of them may be found, and while the Scriptures and revelation of Jesus Christ within them offer us all we need to know about the nature of God, and lots of information about His work, there is still an element of mystery to His work in the world that we simply must accept, lest we misrepresent Him like Job's friends did, or we attempt to paint Him into a corner like Job did.
Judges is a tough read. It is supposed to be. It speaks of the season between Joshua and Samuel and shows the consequences of an apostate people determined to adopt the cruel gods of the surrounding nations. It is a bloody and difficult book. How then do we study books like this for our own personal edification? Well, there are many excellent hermeneutical tools out there which fall way beyond the scope of a small devotion, but here are some of the principles I adopt when I cannot make sense of a difficult text.
I can't help but think that we would see significantly more of God's hand moving in our life if we regularly prayed the types of prayers that Abraham's servant prayed. In a world where we are suddenly aware of the unpredictability of our days, the people of God would do well to regularly stop and pray... "Oh Lord, please come through for me today. I don't stand a chance without you. Show me what to do, and what not to do. Remind me of your steadfast love, please Lord. I need your guidance and your presence today."