I am amazed at how God's Word is new with every encounter, how new insights jump out of even the most familiar passages. This truly is a living book!
Reading through Judges again last month, I quickly recognized the cycle of sin, affliction, repentance, and restoration that defined the life of the nation of Israel and their relationship to God. Sadly, that same rhythm resonates in my own life.
No, I don't have a Baal or an Ashtaroth standing in the corner of the living room, and the Philistines are not breaking down my door. For me, it looks more like this.... I begin to take the blessings and promises of God for granted. Slowly, imperceptibly, I shift ever-so-slightly from delighting and resting in Christ and His work on my behalf. Instead, I long for something besides my Savior. I want a bigger bank account. Fewer demands on my schedule. More time for myself. To be recognized and appreciated by others. A body that isn't quite so achey and creaky. A more understanding family.
Then, like sinful Israel, I am taken captive by these false gods. My thoughts grow preoccupied with these other desires, leaving little room to contemplate the beauty of Christ. I begin to live and think as if these other things are the only means of finding peace or joy. The peace and security of resting in Christ are left behind as I foolishly wander off into the land of the Philistines.
Funny thing is, living in Philistia yet again, I find I am still not happy. No, I become absolutely miserable. So wretched, eventually, that I grow desperate to be delivered. Just like Israel.
In Judges chapter 10, we find Israel languishing in captivity for the 5th or 6th time since the beginning of the book. They cry out to God to deliver them. He responds by pointing out their repeated unfaithfulness - "Let your false gods save you!" To God's charges, Israel replies, "We have sinned; do to us whatever seems good to you. Only please deliver us this day." (Judges 10:15) Then, they make a pretense of putting away the false gods, gods they will be worshipping again in just a few pages. There is no sincere repentance. They do not desire to worship God. They only desire to be saved from their present distress. Their cry is, "Whatever! Just deliver us!" Just like me.
I want to be delivered from the trials and difficulties of life on this earth, from my own obsessions and insecurities - not so that I can worship God, but so I can be comfortable. So I can get back to the business of pleasing myself.
Considering anew the faithfulness of Christ, I cry not "Deliver me from my afflictions!" - but - "Deliver me from myself!" God, who is ever faithful, even to faithless Israel, even to faithless Camille, promises to do exactly that.
1 month ago