Updated: Mar 31
Judges, Samuel and Our Girl Ruth
Oh hey, short on time? No worries! I'd love to join you on your commute or daily walk/run, or shoot, even while you take care of that to-do list. We can't let these things get in the way of this friendship. It's just starting to get good! Click below to listen to the blogcast.
Quick recap from last week -
God uses an unlikely person with a scandalous past (ahem, Rahab) to remind us of His grace and the power of His love.
God raises up a new leader for His people in Joshua after Moses is laid to rest.
The Israelites go into the promised land of Canaan and take possession of it (through the power of praise - so cool!) and the land is divided among the twelve tribes.
So, now we have some land. Remember how we said with great blessing comes great responsibility? Well, it was true then and it's true again now. In the book of Joshua chapter 3, we see God command the people to remove bad influences, that is to kill the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Gergashites, Amorites, and Jebusites.
Oh, yites! (I was on a roll with all these -ites. Sorry not sorry for the cheese.)
Sometimes this part of scripture can cause some to only see the fury of God, missing His intentions and overlooking His love, in this command. You see, these groups were not good influences on His people. He knew their worship of other gods would drive the hearts of His people away from Him if they remained together. As with all of God's commands, it was an act of love and protection for His people.
But, they didn't do it. Instead, they intermarried and began to think, "What's so bad?"
Remember what we saw Joshua tell the people before he died? He reminded them if they disobey and do not revere Him as the one, true God, His hand of protection would be removed from them.
And it was so.
Today, we start in the book of Judges and we see this disobedience lead to a battle against the Lord Himself! Not hard to imagine, they were defeated.
So a cycle of God gives a judge, the people obey, the judge dies, the people sin, the people are punished for their sin in the form of foreign armies, and the people ask for mercy from above. Rinse, wash, REPEAT.
Guess where you can read more about this cycle of judges? Yep, the book of Judges!
We like 1:1 connections. Check it out sometime. Stories of Gideon and Samson and Samuel are hard to pass up.
So much so, let's settle in for a bit on Samuel.
Have you ever prayed desperately for something from God? We're talkin' not just night and day but every moment of every day and every night. Well, that was Hannah. She was barren, because God had given her no child (1 Samuel 1:5). She prayed and prayed and asked the Lord for Him to have mercy on her and give her a child. She committed to give the child back to the Lord. And, the Lord granted her request and gave her a son she named Samuel.
Hannah remained faithful to her word and brought the child to Eli, the priest who prayed for her, and left him to be raised and to grow in the service of the Lord.
Eli has sons of his own but they're no good. The Lord speaks to Samuel and tells him that judgement is coming for Eli and his family because his sons blaspheme God and lack discipline. The sins of Eli's sons will never be forgiven. Because of this, the Philistines attack the Israelites and steal the Ark of the Covenant.
Guess what happens to Eli? He literally falls over dead. He was overweight, not in the best of health, but the news hits hard. Like real hard. And he dies.
[Stage Directions: Enter Samuel to center stage.]
Samuel steps up and serves the people during this time between judges and kings. (We'll get to the kings soon enough, don't worry.) Oh, and the Philistines don't hold onto the Ark of the Covenant for long. Crazy things start happening and they realize they're in too deep. Basically, they can't get rid of it fast enough.
Remember two seconds ago when I said we'd get to this "king" talk. Well, we're here now because the Israelites are begging God to give them a king. Open up your Bible to the book of Samuel and you'll hear their cries, "Give us a king! Give us a king! Give us a king and we'll ask for nothing else!"
Mmk, so maybe our Bibles aren't like seashells where we can hear it with our own ears, but we can read all about it.
God hadn't given them a king because they were to live differently than the rest and after all, He is their King. The Israelites, though, see everyone else with an earthly king, and now, they gotta have one, too.
Yep, been there. Comparison is indeed the thief of all joy ...and the reason for too many kings in the kitchen? Or, somethin' like that...
Our Girl, Ruth
But before we leave the time of judges and start all this king talk, let's jump to the book of Ruth. Friend, you gotta read this story - it's only 4 chapters - one chapter a day this week. You got this. And guess what you'll notice...
So remember the unlikely woman we met in Jericho by the name of Rahab? Well, she gives birth to a son named Boaz who marries a woman who is both faithful and humble named Ruth. We love us some Ruth. Forget settling down. Boaz and Ruth settled UP when they married one another, that's for sure!
They have a son named Obed, who has a son named Jesse, who has a son named David. This continues and we see Rahab, the one with the unimaginable past, is distinguished not only as the great, great-grandmother of a king AND! Yes, it gets better! She is included in the lineage of the Messiah, the long-awaited King!
If this doesn't just absolutely wreck you as it does me, let me spell it out a bit more.
God's love for sinners is great - greater than our sin and shame. God is in the business of redeeming lives. And this story - His love - didn't stop when we met Rahab. It wasn't, "Oh, she's a filthy prostitute. That's too shameful for God." No, it was, "She's mine. She will know My love and My love will set her free and her children and her children's children and grandchildren and all those who come after them will know My love and My love will set them free."
You see, God's love doesn't stop at sin - even the deepest sin we know - because His love is greater.
And that, my friend, is why we're doing this. That's why we open these pages of The Bible and we read and we let it read us. Because we need to know His love is greater than our sin. This story isn't about something that happened a way, long time ago. This is a story about us, about our need for a Savior and our redemption.
The judges have served for a time but the people are persistent - they want a king! So that's where we're going next. It's one of my favorites. Let's meet back here next week and maybe it will prove to be one of your favorites, too.
May we find strength in the Word of God. May our joy for reading scripture grow as we intentionally choose to set aside time to spend reading it each day. May our peace overflow as the Word of God reads us and changes us from the inside out. Then, we will know rest this world can't give.
Remember how we said 5 minutes a day can change your day, your life and even your eternity? Well, here's what I'll be reading this week. I really hope you'll join me!
The good life, well it starts with a good day. Then another. Then another. Let's choose to live #TheGoodDay one day at a time.
I love hearing from you, so go ahead. Leave a comment. Be brave. Maybe your comment will speak life into someone else!
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