READING: Judges 10-13
“But you have abandoned me and worshiped other gods.”
I wonder what a summary statement of my Christian walk would sound like. I suppose it would depend on the season of my life. In my early years as a teenage believer, it probably would have spoken of excitement mingled with struggles of ongoing rebellion. My early years of pastoral ministry might have spoken of passion + self-dependence. Now, I hope the summary would include love for God and growing peace, even while I wrestle with urgency and global responsibility. I fear, though, that all points of my life would have included ongoing battles with idols to which I cling. Most of us likely deal with our own idols.
Seldom have I read, however, of idolatry to the extent that the Hebrews went in the book of Judges. It’s true that summary statements can feel exaggerated, but this kind of statement is nonetheless jarring: “Then the Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. They worshiped the Baals and the Ashtoreths, the gods of Aram, Sidon, and Moab, and the gods of the Ammonites and the Philistines. They abandoned the Lord and did not worship him” (Judg. 10:6). It’s as if the writer were saying, “They followed any gods of any people around them.” So idolatrous had the people become that God almost taunted them in their rebellion when their repentance seemed less than sincere: “Go and cry out to the gods you have chosen. Let them deliver you whenever you are oppressed” (Judg. 10:14).
Frankly, the older I get, the more amazed I am that God continues to love any of us idolaters at all. He does, though, so much that He would send us a Deliverer in Jesus—and I suppose that’s what grace is all about in the first place.
- Think about a summary statement that honestly describes your current walk with God.
- Thank God that His love for us is greater than our connections to our idols.
PRAYER: “Father, I confess again that I can be an idolater. Do what You must in my life to break my bondages.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Judges 14-18