At the end of last term I wrote about the encouragement we get from God’s faithfulness in things recorded in Deuteronomy and Joshua. By contrast, I’m now getting towards the end of Judges in my Bible reading. Yes, God is still faithful, but the context in which his faithfulness is demonstrated at this time in the history of his people is quite challenging.
The accounts remind me of how hopeLESS life in this world becomes when we reject God and his perspective in favour of ‘humanism’, or doing things according to what seems right in our own eyes. I must admit, I don’t really need to be reminded of this while ever the media persists in reflecting, as well as shaping, our culture in Australia, and the world, today. But it is helpful to know that nothing takes God by surprise. Moreover, no matter how bad things get, God never relinquishes his sovereign power and control in the affairs of men. He continues to use even weak, sinful, rebellious human beings (like you and me!) to fulfil his purposes, to bring glory to his holy name, and to preserve and build his Church!
I know I will get a slight bit of relief from the despair of Judges for a few days of reading through the love story of Ruth and seeing the foundations being laid for the ultimate ‘kinsman-redeemer’ who is my Lord and Saviour. Then, of course, will come the period of Samuel and the Kings of Israel which will cause me to long again for the True King of whom all the fore-‘shadows’ will be so inadequate, the ray of hope that Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther provide, after which Job will encourage me to keep trusting in my faithful, sovereign, redeeming God even when everything seems to be going wrong.
But I am looking forward to getting to Psalms 1 & 2, to be reminded yet again that what really matters is for me to resist ‘walk[ing] in the counsel of the wicked or stand[ing] in the way of sinners or sit[ting] in the seat of mockers … but, rather, delight[ing] in the law of the LORD, and on his law meditat[ing] day and night … so that I might be “like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither” and “whatever he does prospers” … with “the LORD watch[ing] over [my] way”! And I will be able to hear his reassuring voice in Psalm 2: “Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against his Anointed One. ‘Let us break their chains,’ they say, ‘and throw off their fetters.’ The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, ‘I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill.’ I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: He said to me, ‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will rule them with an iron sceptre; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.’”
Rev Bruce Christian
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