This week's devotional is from Pastor Jeff.
ENCOUNTER: Read Judges 4:1-24
I know, I know. But I couldn’t resist this picture that a friend sent me from a “tongue-in-cheek” Lego rendition of Bible stories. If you haven’t read the whole passage above and therefore you can’t imagine what is happening in this crazy picture, I can’t wait for you to read and reflect on this unusual passage! And if you can’t, for the life of you, figure out why I would post this picture, then you missed an awkward laugh we had on Sunday morning as part of our study time in this PG-13 passage.
While we shared an uncomfortable chuckle over the gory details of this text, the passage itself and its message is not really funny at all. It is a tragic picture as it portrays a season of oppression and war for the Israelites. And war is, and has always been, a tragedy. But we studied the text in its context and in its fullness to find out about the ordinary people (three of them) that God used to accomplish an extra-ordinary feat that rescued his beloved people from 20 years of brutal oppression. This is how God continues to reveal himself in scripture: as a good father who raises up (extra)ordinary people to help his will be done on earth as it is in heaven... and the world is changed.
How might you emulate the (extra)ordinary people we see in this text in how they were able to be used by God to bring to fruition his extraordinary plan? Consider the first point from the sermon on Sunday: They cried out to the Lord for help (v. 3). When the Israelites had been suffering under the cruel oppression of their enemies, they (finally) turned to God and cried out for his help. We can and should be following this example.
What comes to mind and what do you feel as you get quiet and reflect on your life, family, community, and world? What is broken and needs restoration? What is sick and needs healing? What is wrong and needs to be made right? What, simply, just should NOT BE? The answers to these questions are the beginning of your prayer life and your role in God’s plan of justice, mercy, and transformation.
BE A BLESSING:
The final point of the sermon on Sunday was that God’s extraordinary plan is brought about when his (extra)ordinary people stepped out when the time came for action (v.14,15.) The victory against the warring army came once Barak, who was formerly paralyzed by fear and lack of faith, stepped out. The text says he “advanced,” and then the Lord routed the adversaries. This is very much standard operating procedure: God acts once his people step out in faith. Your small step of loving and blessing someone or some organization may be the mustard seed of faith that will grow into a huge blessing. What is one step you can take today that feels like a prompting from God in your heart? It may seem silly or tiny, but go for it and see what God does!
Our three (extra)ordinary people in Judges 4 each brought their different strengths (and weaknesses!) to the table. They each played unique roles, and only together was the victory won. This is our reality in 2017 as well, right here in our fellowship. There is another brother or sister in Christ who, this very week, needs what you bring to the table on this extraordinary journey we are on together. Bring your faith, your strength, and show up for someone this week. Who might that be?
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” John 15:16