10. “Then they cried to the LORD again and confessed, ‘We have sinned by turning away from the LORD and worshiping the images of Baal and Ashtoreth. But we will worship you and you alone if you will rescue us from our enemies.’
11. Then the LORD sent Gideon, Bedan, Jephthah, and Samuel to save you, and you lived in safety.
1 Samuel 12: 10–11 NLT
Today’s Passage is another short excerpt of God’s Pronouncement against the Children of Israel as He established Saul as the inaugural King of God’s people. After defeating the Ammonites, Saul’s popularity is off the charts. Samuel perceives he would have no better time to consolidate his authority than now, so he strikes while the proverbial iron is hot.
Yesterday, we covered God’s opening Message to the people, and in Today’s Passage, we are introduced to the next portion of The Story of Samuel. In Today’s Episode, God directly mentions His Grace and Mercy toward His people in the commissioning of Samuel and the other Judges for Israel’s Protection.
But do not ignore the reason God sent His Judges. At the beginning of God’s Message delivered through His Prophet Samuel in Verse 7, He tells the Israelites that He plans to “reason with” them concerning His “Righteous Acts” and their subsequent Less Than Honorable Actions toward Him.
The First Act God mentions is the Israelite’s Exodus from Egypt. Many of us know the Story of Moses and how God used him to free His people from the cruel and tyrannical captivity imposed by Pharoh, the Ruler of the known world at the time. But the moment the pressure was off and no obvious destination presented itself, the newly free, miracle-witnessing Israelites immediately turned their backs on the very God who had just initiated their freedom.
So, the need for Judges to once more free them from captivity was necessitated through their own rebellious offenses. The Judges weren’t initially sent to Protect the Children of Israel but to free them of another self-imposed captivity.
Don’t forget that God had already informed the people about the dynamic He created for them. He said He’d Protect them if they followed His Law, and if they didn’t, their Protection would vanish. The Israelites tested God’s Word time and again and found out the hard way that He is not slack on His Promises.
So, after another season of captivity and oppression, God sent His Judges to free His people and maintain a requisite level of decorum amongst their often-quarreling tribes. Samuel was among those Leaders, but the people rejected God’s Rule in the form of His Judges, demanding a King.
But Today’s Lesson stems from God’s refusal to allow His people to simply fail and be destroyed. Reading how God chose to deal with His recalcitrant children often sounds harsh and imposing. But why did God send punishment in the form of oppressive captivity in the first place? Why did He think treating the Children of Israel like that was necessary?
It is the same reason He converses with them in Today’s Passage. They rejected God. Verse 10 tells us unequivocally that the Israelites scorned God and began to worship Baal and Astaroth, both gods of the local surrounding pagan nations, and certainly not idols God would be happy to share His Glory with.
So, the Israelites rejected God in the wilderness after their Exodus, they rejected Him by worshiping the idols of their neighbors, and they rejected Him by asking for a King and not Him as their Ruler. Is it any wonder that God is sitting the people down and having “a talk” with them?
Imagine if you had a child who was being mistreated, and you saved them from their tormentors only to have them slap you in the face when you were expecting a “thank you?” Then soon after that, they stopped even talking to you, and not long after that, they told you they didn’t even want you in their lives anymore.
That is essentially what Israel is doing with God, as He gently tries to explain to them how shortsighted and ignorant their decisions are. Even as He gives His foolish children what they want, He tells them how ill-informed they are about their choices.
God is all about the “Teachable Moments!” He wants us to learn what is right and wrong for ourselves and choose to do what is right out of our own sense of Righteousness and desire to please Him. But sometimes, learning like that requires failure and reassessment of trajectory.
That might mean a total and comprehensive overhaul of our personalities, activities, and thoughts. And let’s be honest, many of us refuse to change for our own benefit, so you know we’re not clamoring to do God’s Will, especially if it causes us to deny ourselves of some pleasure or lust.
But God is so Loving and Patient that He offers us Lesson after Lesson to pry us out of our entrenched attitudes. He wants us to Learn, so He nudges us toward compliance through persistent, gentle persuasion. Today’s Lesson is that when we ignore that gentle coaxing, sometimes God will have to exert a little more pressure.
That is what The Children of Israel have experienced throughout their tenure as God’s Chosen, and still, they seem not to be getting the point. Guess what that means? More pressure! And we can expect the same if God is trying to get out attention and we ignore Him. Just something to consider as He Calls you to His Service.
Have a Terrific Tuesday And Remember, That Conviction You Hear Is God’s Still Small Voice Screaming For Your Attention; Don’t Ignore it!