Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Destructive cycles

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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Judges 9-12; Psalm 73

TO CHEW ON: “Then the children of Israel again did evil in th sight of the LORD and served the Baals and the Ashtoreths…

So the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel and He sold them into the hands of the Philistines …

And the children of Israel cried out to the LORD…

And the children of Israel said to the LORD, ‘We have sinned…’

So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the LORD. And His soul could no longer endure the misery of Israel.” Judges 10:6,7,10,15,16).

In the depressing chapters of our reading today we see firsthand the living out of the summary of this book from Judges 2:
1] The people leave God to worship idols - Judges 2:11-13. 
2] God gives them over to plundering neighbours and nomads who wreck their land and livelihood - Judges 2:14-16. 
3] In desperation the Israelites pray to God for help - Judges 2:15,18. 
4] God sends a leader—a judge—to deliver them - Judges 2:16. 
5] They have peace during the judge’s lifetime but on his death revert back to idol-worshiping ways - Judges 2:19. 
6] The cycle begins again - Judges 2:20-23.

As we read today’s stories of Israel descending with every generation and judge into greater anarchy, chaos, and depravity, it’s easy for us to feel critical. How could they not recognize the self-sabotage in their cycles?

Yet I would submit that their actions are only an outworking of the condition of the human heart that by default rebels against God and looks for other deities.  And I’m not so sure we’re immune from these same kinds of cyclical reactions that keep us from freedom and forward motion.

Do we find ourselves in the same spot of joblessness or debt or hoarding or obesity or addiction or relationship problems that we’ve broken free from in the past? 

Could the answer to complete and final breakthrough be that we need victory over spiritual rebellion in some chamber of our own hearts? Are we returning to our own idols of self, indulgence, fear of not enough, lust, etc. 

Let’s pray for God to give us insight into our own destructive cycles.

PRAYER: The destructive cycles of Israel are not unfamiliar to me. Please help me to see and recognize the rebellions and idols of my own heart that have me going in circles. Please show me the path to breakthrough. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Thanks for reading! This year we are using The Bible Project "Timeless Reading Plan" to read through the Bible in 2018. If you'd like to read along in your own Bible, you can download a pdf of the reading plan HERE.

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