Who are these people who lead or save Israel? Aside from Deborah, they have all been military leaders, typically men who will fight. Spiritual leadership, calling Israel back to the Lord, has not played an obvious part in the job description.
Where is the spiritual discernment? Where are the priests? There hasn’t been a word about celebrating the Passover or any of the religious feasts mentioned in Deuteronomy and this chapter alone references almost 70 years!
In trouble again, the chapter ends with these words, The leaders of the people of Gilead said to each other, “Whoever will take the lead in attacking the Ammonites will be head over all who live in Gilead” (18). Is this any way to pick the leader of the Israelite people? It sounds like a school yard where the biggest and strongest lead. Israel’s lone attribute for leadership... the person who is the strongest or bravest?
Israel’s relationship with the Lord has been reduced to “God, I am drowning. Save me!”
As crass as this may be, it is easy to fall into a similar trap. Life is going fairly well and thoughts of the Lord drift further and further into the recesses of our life. Worship becomes less regular. Involvement beyond the occasional worship attendance is nil. Giving is a token or an afterthought. Service… what service? Then the bottom falls out. A family member becomes sick, your job is threatened or something of the sort. We wonder, “Where is God when we need Him? Why did this happen to ME?” Eventually we cry out, “God, I need a new job or healing…”
Is that any different than Israel?
NO, not really.
So reading the sad tale of Israel causes me to consider my connection and relationship with the Lord. Am I staying close by His side, in good and bad times or am I drifting??? Do I turn to the Lord when I need something but rarely turn to God simply to stay connected with the Lord?
I have gone through seasons with my budding adult-children when the only time they called was when they need something. Oh, they maybe chatty at first but then the ask comes… As a parent I longed for a deeper connection. I helped out because I wanted to stay connected but the relationship could have been much deeper. Is that the way I am with the Lord?
I hope not…
How about you???
Lord, I sit with You today, just to be with You. NO ask right now, just presence… in Jesus’ name I enter Your presence and sit. Amen and amen.