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in hope believe

October 16, 2007

My journey through Judges continued the other night into chapter 10. The pattern of evil, bondage, crying out, deliverance, and peace continues until verse 11 (-14, embellished):

//So the LORD said to the children of Israel, “Did I not deliver you from the Egyptians and from the Amorites and from the people of Ammon and from your addictions and from your pride and from your own lies and from the soul ties you forged and from the Philistines? Also the Sidonians and Amalekites and your ego oppressed you; and you cried out to Me, and I delivered you from their hand. Yet you have forsaken Me and served other gods. Therefore I will deliver you no more. Go and cry out to the gods which you have chosen; let them deliver you in your time of distress.”

Days ago this was my response to Israel, but now, aware that I am Israel and not God in this story, I allowed myself to get a little worried.

I know how the story ends, so it’s easy to call God’s bluff, but Israel was probably worried and unsure at the time. They probably thought it was too hard, if not impossible, and hardly worth trying anyway since it seemed the Lord would not deliver them.

But they served Him anyway.

Imagine. Who would do that, really? You’ve gotten yourself in a mess (of course, many of us would never admit was our fault in the first place), you cry out to the Lord, and He says, “No! Get yourself out of it. I’m tired of your cold shoulder.” Church attendance the next week would plummet. Tithes and offerings would all but dry up. Which side would I be on? I know which side I should be on, but in the midst of that … who can stand?

Israel served God anyway. For better or worse, they realized their err and put away the false gods even though they had little hope that the Lord would act on their behalf. Which answers my question from yesterday …

And I love the last half of verse 16. After Israel returns to the Lord, with no expectation for their own good, “His soul could no longer endure the misery of Israel.” And He raised up a deliverer.

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