Today’s reading: Judges 6-16, Psalm 34
Our reading for today begins this way in Joshua 6:
“Yet again the People of Israel went back to doing evil in God’s sight.” (The Message)
The period of Israel’s history that is recorded in the book of Judges is not a pretty one. Time and time again, God’s covenant people fails to keep their side of the deal. It seems that no matter what God does to preserve life and land for them, they are intent on practicing bad behaviors.
It is remarkable to see how honest and raw this book is about human behavior. While it shocks our senses, we can be thankful that the early church did not strike it from the record. It was not preserved as an ode to good living. Even the cast of judges we meet are not chosen for their examplary behavior. Instead, the book of Judges bears witness that, even when people are running amuck, God can still be at work in the background. God uses flawed characters in carrying out God’s ultimate purposes.
The book of Judges is undergirded by a characteristic of God that we most often associate with Jesus in the New Testament. It is clearly in operation here, even though it is never mentioned outright. It’s name is grace. The Israelites, in spite of their choices, time and time again get what they do not deserve. . .another chance. . .and another. . .and another. It seems that God’s patience will not run out, as exasperating as their behavior may be. How good it is to know a God like that.