Sunday, April 12, 2015

April 12 - Judges 6

Today's reading in our daily plan is Judges 6. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • Once again Israel turned their back on God and found themselves being oppressed by the Midianites.  
  • Again the Israelites cried out to God for help and He appoints a fifth judge, Gideon.
  • After God calls Gideon to be Israel's leader, he asks him to tear down the altar of the pagan god.  At that time, an attack on a god was often seen as an attack on the local government supporting that god.  Gideon could have faced serious social problems and potentially physical attack.  Gideon took a great risk in tearing down the altar, but in doing so demonstrated his faith and commitment to God.
  • Even though Gideon had faith, he also demonstrated doubt and fear.  He delays in obeying God and delivering Israel because He wanted more proof that God would indeed save Israel.  
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • When problems arise, first look within.  In verse 13, Gideon questioned God about the problems Israel faced and about God's apparent lack of help.  What he didn't acknowledge was how Israel had brought those problems on themselves through their disobedience and neglect of God.  
  • God's power is often displayed through weak people.  Seeing his own limitations and weaknesses, Gideon can't see how God could work through him and instead makes excuses (vs. 15).  But Gideon was not on his own.  God promises to be with Gideon and to work with him to defeat the Midianites.  
  • Demanding signs from God can be an indication of unbelief or fear.  Gideon waits for confirmation when he should have been taking action.  God had already told Gideon what he needed to do.  
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • It's easy to blame our problems on God and others and overlook our own role in it.  However, this never solves the problem and never brings us closer to God.  It typically causes us to continue rebelling against God.  When problems come, the first place to look is within.  Take time today to confess to God any sins that may have created the problems you are currently experiencing. 
  • The fact that God's power is often displayed through weak people should give us courage.  It's good to acknowledge our limitations but don't forget that we can rely on God's strength and power.  We must rely on God for our effectiveness rather than our own energy and talent.  Only His power will make us effective for Him and help us to do work that has lasting value.  
  • Where are you holding back from obeying God due to fear or because you want more proof?  How can you trust and obey God by taking action today?