Willing To Be Willing

 Today we start reading the book of Judges.  The book of Judges covers about 300 to 350 years of Israel’s history starting with the death of Joshua and ending with these words that characterize the whole book.  “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Judges 21:25 NASB

 Years earlier, at Mt. Sinai, God and the people of Israel made a covenant that He would be their God and they would be his people. As God’s people, God had a plan for them.  He would make them into a great nation, a nation who would bring God’s law, both civil and ceremonial, to a world that was also doing what they considered right in their own eyes, yet was on the road to self-destruction.

 It is clear from Deuteronomy 17:14&15 that God knew the people of Israel would one day become a nation and would want to have a king over them like the nations around them.  God placed on them one requirement; God was the one who was to choose the king so they could represent Him well. Judges describes the process that will lead them to becoming a kingdom.

 For me the book of Judges is difficult reading.  There are a few bright moments that give hope but there are also times of great difficulties, the result of their rejection of God. In those times God allows the people to get the desires of their hearts and to live out the consequences of those desires until the people finally call on the Lord.  God is gracious and delivers them when they seek Him but then they fall back into the same pattern and the whole cycle repeats. As the cycle repeats a new low is reached and life becomes harsh and unmanageable.

 The cycle we read about in the book of Judges is not exclusive to the book.  It is the nature of mankind to chart our own course thinking we are right no matter what we do.  The results are the same, lawlessness that leads to pain, suffering, and slavery.  God has a purpose for the pain.  When we ignore Him and go our own way and suffer the consequences of our decisions he allows the pain to make us willing to seek Him and His way for our lives.  We may not listen to the Lord’s still quiet voice but pain screams at us.

 Even though we know God’s way is best for us we face a battle with temptation that tries to tell us we are missing out.  Temptation also tells us that even though we have experienced the results of falling into the cycle, this time it will be different.  Temptation tells us that even though we know the price of the pain and suffering our decision will cause us, the short momentary pleasure we will experience will be worth it.  Temptation is a powerful persuasive liar. Temptation is bait on the trap that is meant to make us fall.

God is for us.  Psalm 37:22&23 says, “The steps of a man are established by the Lord; and He delights in his way. When he falls, he shall not be hurled headlong; Because the Lord is the One who holds his hand.” NASB

 I had a friend who used to pray, “Lord make me willing to be willing. ”The book of Judges is the story of how God made a nation, “willing to be willing.” May we learn to be willing to follow God’s plan for us. His way is best.

 Grace and Peace