Mar 31 (Daily reading: Judges 3-5) We saw in yesterday’s reading a discouraging cycle of events in the life of God’s people. They would cry out when oppressed by the enemy, and God would raise up a judge to deliver them. When that judge died, the people would return to their practice of following the Canaanite pagan gods. “They did not abandon their practices or their obstinate ways” (2:19). When they cried out again, God would raise up another judge, and the cycle would continue.
Before we judge them too harshly, we must ask ourselves if we resemble them in any way. They were fighting against the army of an enemy nation; in our analogy, this army represents any fleshly activity that discourages our witness for Christ, or our service in the church. Have you ever asked God’s forgiveness, then repeated the same sin, became convicted and asked forgiveness again? Since we are all human, we know the answer to that question.
We hear the battle cry of Ehud: “Follow me, for the LORD has delivered your enemies…into your hand” (3:28, NKJV). Or of Deborah: “Behold, the LORD, the God of Israel, has commanded, ‘Go…and I will give (the enemy) into your hand” (4:6-7). The battles against the enemies of Israel are symbolic of our daily battles against the one who “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). Victory comes when God delivers the enemy into our hands. When we are redeemed by Christ, the devil has no power over us!
Just remember, without the daily battle, there would be no daily victory! We join Deborah in her victory song: “I, even I, will sing to the LORD; I will praise the LORD, the God of Israel, in song” (5:3, NIV).
– Al Gary