Last night I was lead to the book of Judges. When I think of Judges, the first character that comes to mind is Samson. Thankfully, God’s message is always fresh and I only got through chapter ten, so I didn’t get to Samson. By far, the biggest theme that hit me was how patient God truly is. The book of Judges is filled with story after story of how Israel turned away from God; they become miserable; and God raises up a leader (judge) to restore their position and relationship with God. Then, as soon as that judge dies, they go right back to turnng away from God and worshiping foreign gods (baals).
Chapter ten begins by giving us two very short headlines of the judges Tola and Jair. After these judges, big surprise here, Israel turns away from God and is oppressed again. This time though, God says (and I paraphrase), “That’s it. I’m done. You’ve made your bed, now lie iin it.” But Israel not only cries out, they clean house, get rid of all their baals and turn back to God on their own. Paise Him for His patience! The Word says:
So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the Lord. And His soul could no longer endure the misery of Israel.
The part that strikes me most about this verse is “His soul could no longer endure the misery of Israel.”. This speaks volumes about the yearning God has to be near his children. For growth, God allows us to go through the circumstances we create on our own. We often blame baals for our predicament, but it’s really our own choices that put us squarely outside of God’s presence. We can cry, moan, and complain, but it’s not till we turn away from the things that we’ve permitted to take God’s place that He steps in and says “enough!”. I can almost hear Him say,”Ok, you’ve had your shot, now let Me step in, set things straight, and let you have another go at it.”. What a loving God we serve.
Another passage that really made God’s patience stand out is in the story of Gideon (Judges 6-8). In chapter six, we are introduced to Gideon from God’s perspective as a “mighty man of valor.” Yet, when we see Gideon from his perspective, he sees himself as coming from the weakest tribe of Israel, Manasseh, and the least of his fathers house. Hallelujah, God has the patience for us to get to the point to see ourselves as even of glimpse of how He sees us. God permitted Gideon to test him three times, once with a sacrifice, and twice with a fleece. I won’t go into the details (go read it for yourself), but God was basically telling Gideon, “Look, I believe in you. I know you are capable of completing what I asm asking you to do. And, just so you believe it too, I Am going to do the things that you think are impossible just to prove it,”
Lord, let me see myself through Your eyes. Let me always remember that I am more valuable to You than I can possibly understand — valuable enough for You to sacrifice Yourself through Jesus Christ that I would be redeemed. Thank You for Your patience when I am blinded by my own ignorance and stubbornness. And, thank you for Your Living Word that speaks into my life and gives me hope.
In Jesus Name.