Wednesday, May 29, 2019

2019.05.29 Hopewell @Home ▫ Judges 3:7-11

Questions for Littles: Who did evil in Judges 3:7? In whose sight? What did they forget? What did they do, that showed that they “forgot” Him? What was hot in Judges 3:8? From Whom? Against whom? Into whose hand did Yahweh sell them? How long did they serve him? To whom did the children of Israel cry out (Judges 3:9)? What did Yahweh raise up for them? What did the deliverer do? What was his name? Who was his father? Who was his uncle? Who came upon him in Judges 3:10? What did he do to Israel? To what did he go out? What did Yahweh deliver into his hand? For how many years did the land have rest? But what happened to Othniel, son of Kenaz (Judges 3:11)?
Many people are interested in the dynamics of history. What led to such and such a nation rising up? How did so and so become king over this other area? Etc. There’s a temptation here to delve into how it is that Cushan-Rishathaim from Mesopotamia ends up extending his rule into Canaan. And in a sense, that’s what the passage is about, but not in the way one might think.

Because the dynamic of the history here is that Yahweh rules history. However else this king may think he has ascended to power and taken over Canaan, the ultimate fact of the matter is that he is a tool. A tool in the hand of a very (hotly!) angry God.

Now, it’s interesting that Judges 3:9 only tells us that Israel cried out to Yahweh. In the Old Testament, this phrase by itself does not indicate repentance; in the few places in which it is connected to repentance, it requires some other phrase to add that meaning. So we have a hotly angry Lord, Whom they have forgotten, and to Whom they are crying out in the midst of worshiping the Baals and Asherahs!

And what does the hot-angry Lord do? He raises up a deliverer for them. Certainly not according to their repentance, but rather according to His mercy. Deliverance is messy business; he had to go out to war to do it. But he was given the Spiritual gift of doing so.

On the whole, it’s pretty amazing at the extent of the Lord’s grace. This people who did evil in His sight and betrayed Him spent only eight years in bondage, and He promptly raised up a deliverer by whom He brought them into forty years of rest!

Still, there are limitations to this deliverer. One is obvious, at the end of Judges 3:11. He died. By the end of Judges, we’ll be aching for a deliverer that can never die. The other is not quite as obvious but just as necessary. Othniel could deliver them from “Cushan-double-evil,” but the true bondage to evil was less to a Mesopotamian king and more to their own wickedness, guilt, and misery. Who can deliver from that?
Considering how God was with the unrepentant whose deliverer was Othniel, what reasons do you have to be hopeful of a greater and more permanent salvation? What sin do you fall into, in which you most need to remember that hope?
Suggested songs: ARP130 “Lord, from the Depths” or TPH503 “From Depths of Woe”

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