Wednesday 11th April / The Judges Judges 4, 6-7, 16

“They were left to test the Israelites to see whether they would obey the Lord’s commands…” (Judges 3:4)

The Israelites gained a homeland, but they had little stability or security.  They weren’t very faithful to LOVE who had put them there.  So LOVE raised up a series of ‘judges’ as leaders to reform the nation and bring peace and security.  Judge Dredd wasn’t one of them, although if he had been he might have done quite well.
One judge who saved Israel was Deborah.  In a world of big girls’ blouses, Deborah wore the trousers.  When the men proved too squeamish for action, Deborah stepped up and hammered a tent-peg through a sleeping man’s head.
Another judge who saved Israel was Gideon.  Some people react to anxiety by turning inwards for safety.  This inward-turn often leads to destructive patterns of self-loathing, self-soothing, or both.  Gideon was like that.  Rather than confront things, he went underground.  He hid from trouble.  Just like we all do.  That’s where LOVE found him.  LOVE refused to agree with his helplessness and fear.  And to equip Gideon for the outer fight ahead, LOVE gave him a gift: inner peace.
To save Israel (again) and to show that in LOVE’s hands anyone can become great, God chose a strong leader with a serious rage issue and a sex addiction.  Samson allowed himself to become toy-boy of the man-eater Delilah.  She broke Samson’s heart.  And then he broke God’s.  He gave up the secret to his great strength.  The result was catastrophic.  Samson was captured and Israel was done for.  But LOVE’s anointing can only ever be removed by LOVE, not by people.  And with his dying breath, Samson was able to summon LOVE’s strength one last time, to deliver the nation once again.
The tragedy of Judges is the pattern of the book: the nation turns away from LOVE and gets into trouble, so LOVE raises up a righteous leader to deliver them.   But although the people respond well initially, it never lasts and they’re soon in trouble again, until LOVE raises up another Judge.  Over and over and over, like a broke record.  Are our lives that much different?  The book of Judges tells us a lot about human nature (unfaithful) and LOVE’s nature (faithful).  The book ends on a cliffhanger – the answer to this vicious cycle is to restore the sovereignty of LOVE in our personal lives and in public life.  LOVE must be our King.
As we pray today let’s recommit ourselves to the Kingdom of LOVE, where the LOVE rules and exercises absolute power.  Let’s pray “Thy Kingdom Come” and offer LOVE our lives as living sacrifices that our prayers might be answered.

“In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.” (Judges 17:6 & 21:25)

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