Each day this month, we will consider key moments in God’s glorious plan to redeem us. We will understand both the overarching story of God and the highlights of all he’s done for us in Christ.
Abraham’s descendants occupied the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua. For a while, they enjoyed this land of milk and honey. But after the death of Joshua, a difficult period followed, described in the book of Judges. Here’s the refrain:
“In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25, English Standard Version).
This “freedom” launched a destructive cycle. The people forgot about God, did whatever they felt like, and caused harm to themselves and others. In this weakened state, their surrounding enemies took advantage of their vulnerability and conquered them. In their distress, Israel cried out to God, and he sent “judges” — military leaders who would free God’s people yet once again. The cycle repeated itself over and over. Seven times.
Today, people are defending their right to define who or what they are apart from any outside authority. It promises so much freedom, but like in the days of the Judges, it brings a destructive cycle.
I am not immune to this destructive pattern. I struggle with God’s commandments. I wonder whether he has my best interests at heart or if he’s aware of my challenges. Typically, I take matters into my own hands — doing what is right in my own eyes — and the results are painful.
In my distress, I cry out to the Lord. Cursing the autonomy that got me into this mess, I return to him — humble, sorrowful, and hopeful for a fresh experience of his love.
My dad got it right. Unless I use it to do the right thing, freedom is a terrible thing.
Lord God, it takes us so long to discover that your will is good, agreeable, and perfect and that obedience is the very best of choices. Help us truly understand how infinitely good you are, how fallible we are, and how evil and destructive all sin truly is. Amen.
Throughout This Day: Ponder this question, “Why is the freedom to obey God — a freedom that God makes possible by indwelling us through the Spirit — better than any other form of freedom we could experience?”
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