Prayer Focus: Cameroon

Bible Reading: Judges 10-13

Scripture

And the people of Israel cried out to the Lord, saying, “We have sinned against you, because we have forsaken our God and have served the Baals.”11 And the Lord said to the people of Israel, “Did I not save you from the Egyptians and from the Amorites, from the Ammonites and from the Philistines?12 The Sidonians also, and the Amalekites and the Maonites oppressed you, and you cried out to me, and I saved you out of their hand.13 Yet you have forsaken me and served other gods; therefore I will save you no more.14 Go and cry out to the gods whom you have chosen; let them save you in the time of your distress.”  Judges 10:10-14

Observation

From where I sit this sounds a lot like sarcasm coming from God.  It sounds a lot like, “Oh, you think these gods which are really just hunks of wood are going to save you?  Okay, well, why don’t we put that to the test.  I’m just going to stand back, do nothing, and let’s if any of them come to save you.”  That, my friends, is the last thing you want to hear from God.  When God says, “have it your way,” nothing good results.

And Israel suffered for it.  Fortunately, God didn’t forget them and another leader was raised up; Jephthah.  Jephthah was a mixed bag; lawless, impulsive, but a great military leader.  It’s a familiar story in Israel’s history; bigger than life people with bigger than life faults.  But maybe that’s what it takes to work with a group of people who’s history includes God freeing them from bondage, parting the Red Sea, pillars of fire, pillars of smoke, plagues, miracles, and turning from that God to worship gods made of wood that they sacrificed their children, too.

It’s a head-scratcher.

Application

I feel like I’ve written this post before, but now I’m thinking that’s the point.  I like to pick on the Israelites.  Honestly, I really enjoy it.  I really feel a sense of satisfaction pointing to all the different passages that prove they really were a stiff-necked people; ridiculous is what they were, totally ridiculous.

And then I have to be honest with myself; I enjoy pointing out their faults because it helps me justify mine.

But all is not lost.  God was always there for Israel.  When they repented He took them back immediately.  God’s good that way.  He wants the best for us no matter how stupid we get.  And I don’t have to think to hard to remember how stupid I’ve been.

Do you know how true that is that He wants the best for us?  He wouldn’t have sent a savior if He didn’t want the best for us.  He wouldn’t have left us with His Word if He didn’t want the best for us.  He wouldn’t have filled us with His Holy Spirit if He didn’t want the best for us.  God wanted the best for Israel, but they had the hardest time remembering that.  God wants the best for us; we best not forget that.

Prayer

Lord, Israel had a short memory, almost as short as mine.  I ask for this today, that you would always be on the forefront of my mind; when I’m tempted, when I’m angry, when I share your Gospel, or when I have the opportunity to just do something good for someone.  If you are at the forefront of my mind then you will be at the forefront of my words and my actions; stopping me when I should stop and pushing me when I should go.  May you be glorified, Lord, and not forgotten.  Amen.

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