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Sunday, April 26, 2015

April 26 - Judges 10

Today's reading in our daily plan is Judges 10. 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?)

  • After the turbulent reign of Abimelech in chapter 9, we read of a period of peace under the leadership of two judges:  Tola and Jair.  Between them, they served as judges for a total of 45 years.  
  • Jair had 30 sons who rode 30 donkeys.  While that is a humorous picture to us, it is evidence of Jair's prominence and prosperity.  The donkey was highly regarded as a riding beast in those days and carried with it special recognition.
  • The Israelites once again fail to look back and learn from their past.  After a period of peace, they once again wander away from the one true God and toward idols and false gods.  And again, the Lord gives them over to be oppressed by the nations around them.  
  • After 18 years, the Israelites cry out to God for help. After initially refusing to help, God stepped in to rescue His people. 

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)

  • Sin always brings pain.  Even the sin that looks the most attractive and seems "safe" leads to pain.  Every time the Israelites turned their back on God, they experienced the pain of being attacked and oppressed by other nations.  
  • God should be our first resort.  The Israelites suffer for 18 years before turning back and asking God for help.  Their pagan gods couldn't help them.  Only God could really help them.  They could have saved themselves much suffering if they had humbly come back to God sooner rather than waiting so long.  
  • It can be difficult to follow God over the long haul.  The Israelites always seemed to forget God when all was well.  But God, in his love and mercy, never failed to rescue them when they called out to Him.  

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)

  • Is God your last resort?  So much unnecessary pain and suffering takes place because we don't call on God until we have used up all of our own resources.  Rather than waiting until your situation becomes desperate, turn to God first.  He has all that is needed to help you face whatever problem you have.  
  • When life is going well for us, it is easy to put God outside our daily events instead of at the center of them.  As a result, we sometimes begin to adopt habits and practices that are unhealthy and negatively impact our relationship with God.  And oftentimes, we don't even notice it's happening until much later.  What habits can you adopt - daily and weekly - to stay close to God even when times are good?