READING: Judges 9:22-11:40, Luke 12:1-21
Once again, the Hebrews had turned from their God and worshipped the false gods of the enemies in the land. Judgment came, the people were oppressed, and they cried out to God for help. In the past, He had responded to their cries, but not this time. At least, not right away. Instead, He showed them the fallacy of their ways by sarcastically saying to them, “Go and cry out to the gods you have chosen. Let them deliver you whenever you are oppressed” (Judg 10:14). It was as if God said to them, “You’ve turned to these other gods now, so don’t come to me when things are tough. Turn to them and see what they can do for you.” It appears their cry for God’s help was only utilitarian, and God knew that. He was not going to respond to their cry unless their repentance was genuine.
This text challenges me in several ways. First, how often do we turn to God only in the most difficult times—but then revert to our idols when things are going well? Sometimes we almost try to “use” God as our fallback help when things get tough. Second, how many times is our repentance in word only, and then done only because we know we’re supposed to do that? Our hearts don’t always turn in the direction our words claim we’ve turned. Third, do we realize just how feeble our idols are to help us in times of trouble? They might offer us something in the temporary—and that’s why we often turn to them—but they can’t help us when life is hard. Only God can do that.
PRAYER: “God, I’m sometimes guilty of leaning on the wrong things when I face difficulty. Forgive me.”
DAILY ACTION STEP: Let your first response to any difficulty today be genuine repentance before God.
TOMORROW’S READING: Judges 12-15, Luke 12:22-48