Friday, July 17, 2009

Who are we to Judge?

At church we have just started a sermon series on the book of Judges in the Old Testament. This is a fascinating and challenging book. It is tempting and easy to let our own questions and problems with the events it describes (e.g., Holy wars and foolish vows to the LORD) to completely shape how we read the text. Even worse, we can use our questions and problems to justify dismissing the text and not engaging with it. As always, we need to make sure we don't sit in judgement over the text (and God) and see what questions and problems the text has with us.

A few thoughts stimulated by last sundays sermon include the following:

We see both God's mercy and judgement at work in the events of the book. The LORD is patient with his judgement (2 Peter 3):
8But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
The LORD was patient and did not let his judgement come upon the Ammonites until their sin had reached its full measure (Genesis 15:16). God is merciful and gave them many years to repent. This got to the point that the surrounding nations were performing child sacrifice.

A key passage to understanding the book is the last verse of the book (Judges 21:25):
In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
Why did the Israelites get a king?
The Israelites justed wanted a King to be like other nations.
(1 Samuel 8). They rejected YHWH as their King.
Who is the real King anointed by God? It is Jesus (2 Samuel 7:14).

Without King Jesus we do what is right in our eyes.
This often means us rationalising our own sinful behaviour.
Instead we need to let Jesus commit to destruction our sin.

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