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Life Lessons from the Book of Judges

Last week I landed in the book of Judges reading the story of Gideon. I decided it had been a long time since I read the entirety so why not dive into the whole thing.

As I have been reading each chapter, over and over the words, "then God raised up" or "a few years later", keep jumping off the page at me. I've read the Bible, these passages, so many times. And yet, because I know the end of the story, I too often miss the fact that there was a waiting period for so many individuals in the bible before they got their "happy ending". If you look closely, you will find story after story that required years and years of patience and often seeming silence from God, before they were able to see justice done. Or to be freed or delivered. Or even to see the promise begin to peek into the light.

Yet, in the midst of every one of these stories I tend to breeze by, somewhere in the thousands of people on earth, God was raising up one man, or one woman to do great and mighty things in His name at just the appointed time. He was doing a work in people’s hearts that cannot be rushed. It takes time to grow from infant to adulthood and learn all the character traits needed for the calling on our lives. And while waiting for deliverance, it is so very hard to be patient when we feel like the promise is fading and the timeline is closing in with no hope of things changing.

But today I remind your heart along with my own, God hasn't forgotten us here in the midst of our impossible and lonely places. He didn't forget Joseph in jail. He didn't forget Gideon in the wine press. He didn't overlook David's cries on the run, or the ache of the Israelites broken hearts. It even took 2000 years before the Messiah came. With long years of silence from God in between each of those highs and lows. Sometimes we must wait to see God come and do the good work we long to see. And in the waiting, all though often long and painful, we must believe that God is still moving in the midst. And knowing this, we must not lose heart when the world around us is going off the deep end and things feel so unfair and unjust.

We must hold to on to the faith that somewhere God is raising up the next truth bearers for His kingdom work in the here and now that feels so impenetrable in each of the chapters of life we wish away. We cannot be fooled by the evil one and by what we see before us. Not the enemy’s army. Not the lies of the devil, not the heartbreak of those we love or the longing within ourselves.

No, the same God always working behind the scenes in the scripture, is still at work here in our present day. His timeline is not ours so we cannot lose hope when things don't go according to our plan. But instead, we must begin to rest in the knowledge He still has a plan. He sees the beginning from the end, and He does all HIS will. Even in the yuck, He has a way of making it work for the good of those who love Him.

Hang in there because just as with Gideon, Noah, Esther and Daniel, tomorrow the miracle may appear on the scene. That prayer may be answered, the healing may come. And I for one know I don't want to miss it because I gave up on the promise today. God is still writing the story. Let us hold on to Jesus, and watch His promises unfold. We are not forgotten. Never once.

But when the people of Israel cried out to the Lord for help, the Lord raised up a rescuer to save them. His name was Othniel, the son of Caleb’s younger brother, Kenaz. The Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he became Israel’s judge. He went to war against King Cushan-rishathaim of Aram, and the Lord gave Othniel victory over him. So, there was peace in the land for forty years. Judges 3:9-11 NLT

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