“So the Israelites lived among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and they took their daughters as wives for themselves, and their own daughters they gave to their sons; and they worshiped their gods. The Israelites did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, forgetting the LORD their God, and worshiping the Baals and the Asherahs. Therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of King Cushanrishathaim of Aram-Nahraim; and the Israelites served Cushanrishathaim eight years. But when the Israelites cried out to the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer for the Israelites, who delivered them, Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. … So the land had rest forty years. Then Othniel died. The Israelites did what was evil in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD strengthened King Eglon of Moab against Israel, because they had done what was evil in the sight of the LORD. Joshua 3:5-9, 11b-12
God does not change regardless who I move in next door to or who moves in next door to me; neither does God’s love and grace change, nor God’s expectations, desires and rules. Loving God first, loving others the way God loves me and loving myself the way God loves me are still all in play. Being a disciple and making Disciples of God is also still my/our task and purpose. Becoming a disciple of other gods is still idolatry, still kindles God’s anger. The repeating cycle of unfaithfulness, oppression, repentance, and deliverance we read in Judges is not new with the Israelites nor unfortunately for present day Christians. What is different now is there is no need for God to send another judge to avenge present day enemies and again wipe out idolatry for Jesus has come and will come again. It is imperative I/we make the correct choice of who to follow, who to worship, who to teach others about, who is my guide. God gives us the ability to choose which way we will go; follow Him or change and follow our neighbor; become Christ-like or worldly? As one of my mentor’s says, “If we didn’t have the choice to say no our yes would be meaningless.” Why am I/are we satisfied with 40 years (or less) of rest, why does it take 18+/- to cry out to God? The Good News- Jesus Christ, The Son of God, is our Deliverer! His death and resurrection have overcome all sin. O that I follow Him, every moment of every day, that I recognize that within me that is not of Him, then confess, repent and receive forgiveness. That I live in God’s rest, not worldly turmoil and help others to do the same. Easter is real, the resurrection occurred, God delivers us from the world – if we will receive The Deliverer!