Bible Devotions

God’s Faithfulness

on December 15, 2009

Read Judges 3

This chapter outlines a repeated pattern of bondage and deliverance.  There were those who had not known war.  They weren’t around when Israel fought for the Promised Land.  This was a generation who forgot or never knew all that God had done for the children of Israel.  As a result, Israel had turned away from the Lord in subtle ways.

God left five lords of Philistines, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians and the Hivites without driving them out before Israel.  God used these nations to test Israel to see whether they would obey Him or not.

So how did they do? What do we see?  Israel married the enemy and served other gods for eight years.  The Lord’s anger was hot against Israel.  Yet when Israel cried out to the Lord, He raised up a deliverer.  The Spirit of the Lord came on him. Israel experienced rest for forty years.

Israel, probably a new generation, did evil in the sight of the Lord again.  The Lord strengthened the king of Moab, who was their enemy. For eighteen years, the children of Israel were enslaved to this king.   When Israel cried out the Lord, He raised up another deliverer.  Ehud, who killed the enemy’s king, rallied Israel to kill all enemies.  Therefore, the children of Israel rested for eighty years!

As I read this, it seemed when Israel got their way it lead to enslavement by the enemy.  What is so foreign to me, is why the Lord would step in on their behalf when Israel was not following Him.  No matter Israel’s disobedience, the Lord acts when they cry out to Him.  Even though Israel chose not to follow the Lord, God still heard them when they cried out.  God moved to assist them.  What a gracious and loving God!

Notice each time of enslavement was longer.  The first period was 8 years.  The second time was 18 years.  I wonder why they didn’t call out to God sooner.  Have you ever found yourself stuck in a situation for a long time before you remembered to cry out to the Lord?

Another thing to notice is how the rest period increased each time too.  The first rest was 40 years and the second was 80 years.  Doesn’t this make you think of God’s generosity?  Each time they obeyed God’s reward is lengthened.

Did you also notice each time they headed back into service of the enemy, it was after their deliverer had died?  It’s almost as if they couldn’t stay focused on the Lord without someone leading them.  Does this ring true for you?  The good news for us is we have someone to lead us who will never die – the Holy Spirit.  Those who believe in Jesus are given the Holy Spirit who dwells into us and guides us.

Dear Lord, thank you for your faithfulness towards your chosen people even when they were not faithful.  Thank you for giving us your Holy Spirit to guide us in your truth.  Thank you that we are dependant on a human to lead us, but rather you in Spirit within us who will never leave or forsake us.  May we be obedient to your ways each day.  In Jesus’ name we pray Amen.

©Elizabeth Marks has led small group Bible studies for almost a decade.  Author of ThinkOnItBibleDevotions.com and BeingWomenOfInfluence.com websites she has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.

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