Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Judge This

If you've been reading my blog for any period of time now, you probably realize that I'll talk about pretty much whatever is interesting me at the moment. Sometimes, I go on spiels about politics. Sometimes, I'll talk about tech stuff, some cultural/media phenomenon, or what have you. Sometimes, I like to talk about philosophy and religion. Right now, it's the latter. And it might remain that way for some time for a while. I have many ideas popping up lately.

In my own study of scripture lately, I've been reading Judges. A lot of people tend to talk badly about the first several books after Genesis and before Ruth, but I really enjoy the history and, more importantly, the picture of God that comes from it. What surprises me is that people don't connect more with the book of Judges.

In Judges, we have a very close, uncomfortably close picture of Israel in all of its foibles. God helps Israel; Israel experiences a time of peace and blessing; Israel goes on their merry way, sinning and worshipping idols; God sends the enemies of Israel to punish them for their sins; Israel cries out to God for help; God sends help to Israel . . . and repeat. It goes on and on and on and on that way for so very long. Part of us thinks, "God, why did you put up with those people? What was wrong with them?" But think of how often our lives are filled with the same patter: Complacency, sin, repentence, repeat. I think it's a good idea for us to remember that God isn't in the business of just casting out his people when their lives are filled with sin. No, God wants to redeem them, to make them holy. He doesn't say, "Well, you had your chance, tough luck, see you in Hell (from Heaven)." No, God wants them to learn to be his . . . even if the lesson takes countless centuries to learn.

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