"Jesus Teaching" painting by Jorge Cocco

Today: Psalms 56; John 4:27-42; Judges 2:6-23; Judges 3

John 4

“My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to accomplish His work.” John 4:34

Our spiritual sustenance, the food for our souls, is the presence of God, the Holy Spirit. Only when we seek Him and follow His direction will we accomplish His work. Being in the center of God’s will doesn’t mean our lives will be easy. But it does mean we will be accomplishing eternal work. It does mean our lives will have meaning. It does mean that we will have access to God’s power and authority. It is the most fulfilling peace-filled place to be!

The Samaritans appeared to accept that Jesus was the Savior much more readily than their Jewish neighbors. We aren’t told that Jesus worked a single miracle in the Samaritan city during the two days He stayed there. Yet much of the city “believed in Him” based only upon His word and upon the witness of the woman at the well. What great faith these hated Samaritans demonstrated!

The Jews were usually begging for signs and miracles. But the Samaritans believed without all the fireworks. They were hungry and waiting for the truth to come to them. Often it is the people in the lowliest positions who are the most ready to accept Jesus. This is why Jesus told us:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

Matthew 5:3-5

Judges 2

The Israelites got comfortable. They had acquired their promised land. They had finished their conquests, removed most of the inhabitants and moved into cities they had not worked to build. They ate from ready made gardens and vineyards. They enjoyed a period of comfort and rest.

And they got lazy.

They neglected to teach their children about all the miraculous things God had done for them. And an entire “generation rose up after them who did not know the LORD, nor even the work which He had done for Israel.” (v.10)

And what do you think happened then?

You guessed it! “Then the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD and served the Baals, and they abandoned the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt, and they followed other gods from the god of the peoples who were around them, and bowed down to them.” (v.11-12)

Remember in Judges 1 when the angel predicted that all those people the Israelites had NOT removed from the promised land were going to be “thorns in your sides” and “a snare for you?” Well that was exactly what happened. When the Israelites forgot about all the amazing things God had done for them, those surrounding peoples started looking might nice. They adopted their evil culture and started worshiping their gods (keep in mind, this means they began sacrificing their children and other atrocities as those foreign gods required).

And so began what I think of as Israels ‘see saw period.’ They repeatedly fell away from God, God removed His protection from them and their lives got really bad, they would cry out to God and He would deliver them, then they would promptly fall away again. Up and down, over and over again, just like a see saw…

They would have been so much better off if they had just remembered God’s blessings! May we learn from their mistakes and not forget God’s blessings during our own times of comfort and peace.