Spend time in prayer and silence with God asking him to meet you and speak to you.
The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites. Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountain clefts, caves and strongholds. Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples invaded the country. They camped on the land and ruined the crops all the way to Gaza and did not spare a living thing for Israel, neither sheep nor cattle nor donkeys. They came up with their livestock and their tents like swarms of locusts. It was impossible to count them or their camels; they invaded the land to ravage it. Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the LORD for help.
When the Israelites cried out to the LORD because of Midian, he sent them a prophet, who said, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. I rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians. And I delivered you from the hand of all your oppressors; I drove them out before you and gave you their land. I said to you, ‘I am the LORD your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.’ But you have not listened to me.”
– Judges 6:1-10
Remember the movie, Groundhog Day? The main character, played by Bill Murray, was stuck in a time warp and had to re-live the same day over and over. The book of Judges is a little bit like that.
The Israelites were stuck in a repeating cycle of sin, judgment, and deliverance. In our Bible reading today, the Israelites were starting yet another spin on the Wheel of Misfortune.
The first five chapters introduced us to the Judges, Ehud, Shamgar, and Deborah. Under their leadership the nation enjoyed 160 years of peace. But soon after the death of each one, the Israelites would quickly revert back to all manner of sin and idolatry. God would judge them, then they would repent and cry out to the Lord and He would send a deliverer.
Most of the time that deliverer was a judge, but this section describes how God sent an unnamed prophet to call them to repentance before He sent another judge to deliver them from their enemies.
These “judges” were not court officials in the Justice system who interpreted the law like we might think of judges today. The mission of these Israelite judges was to be a warrior-leader to provide civil and military leadership to rally the troops in order to free the oppressed and to defeat the enemies.
The Big Question
What variations of the cycle of sin, judgment, and deliverance have you experienced in your life?
What are the flashing warning lights on the dashboard of your life that alert you when you are in danger of drifting into sin?
Conclude in prayer and silence, reflecting on what you’ve learned.