This week we will be learning about the cycle of the Judges in Israelite history. The Judges were not as we think of judges today; gown and gavel in hand, but rather normal people called from within the folds of society to remind the Israelites how to be faithful to the work and witness God was calling them to do and be amongst their Canaanite neighbors.
In Judges 2:10-19, we read a summary of the cycle the Israelites and Judges fall into throughout this Old Testament book of the Bible; the Israelites did evil in the yes of the Lord, the Lord’s anger burned against them and the Lord gave the Israelites into the hands of their enemies, the Israelites would cry out in distress to the Lord, the Lord would raise up a judge to save them, but after the judge died the people fell back into sinful patterns and become even worse than they were before….and, the cycle begins again.
Although we cannot draw a direct parallel to our own lives, I do think sometimes I also fall into a pattern of sin, sadness, and forgiveness from God. After all, I am human, and humans sin. On one hand, I see the stories of the judges coming alongside Israel as a word of encouragement; when I do sin, there will be someone to remind me what God’s plan is for me, someone to keep me accountable to God’s sovereignty in my life, and someone to walk alongside me to help me move back into faithfulness with God. On the other hand, this is story about corporate sin and corporate forgiveness–it’s about an entire group of people recognizing their error and corporately turning back to God. This is certainly more tricky!
In an age when news, good and bad, is constantly circulated on Facebook, Twitter, and hundreds of news sources, we can easily want to detach from the bad stuff that’s happening in our world. However, the story of the judges reminds us that we are not beyond the mistakes of our own society, and, that God is also not beyond the ears of those who cry out to Him. Within our church we can seek healing and find healing, we can seek reconciliation and find reconciliation, we can seek peace and find peace. The church can be a model in a deeply broken world of the corporate following of Jesus; simply, peacefully, together.