One judge at a time: Judges 3.1–11 (19 July 2020)

Bible Society's Daily Reflections follow the M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, designed for those who want to read the whole Bible in one year. Each reflection focuses on one of its four daily chapters. Darllenwch rhain yn Gymraeg.



Lord, open my ears to hear what you have to say to me; open my heart to love your word, and open my mind to understand your truth.


Daily reflection: Judges 3

Othniel was the first of the judges, and his rule sets up the pattern that's to follow: oppression, rescue, apostasy, in a continuing circuit. The people 'forgot the LORD their God' (verse 7) and worshipped idols; consequently they're weakened and conquered. God raises up a judge who recalls them to the worship of God and rescues them from their enemies; he or she dies, and they fall back into their old ways.

The judges provide us with some terrific stories (the assassination of Eglon in this chapter reads like the script of a modern action movie), but this pattern illustrates two things. First, there's a question of effectiveness. A refrain throughout Judges is, 'There was no king in Israel at that time. All the people did just as they pleased' (21.25). Relying on powerful personalities to solve problems isn't good for any community in the long term. It needs strength in depth – good institutions and good governance.

Second, the system of judges, in which the 'Spirit of the LORD' (verse 10) falls on one person at a time, reminds us of the revolution of Pentecost, when the Spirit fell on all the disciples. Christians today are all empowered by the Holy Spirit. We might be grateful for the ministry of gifted people, but we don't need a special person to rescue us: we have all we need because of Christ's gift of his Spirit. That's a great privilege – and a great responsibility.



God, thank you for raising up strong men and women to serve you in extraordinary ways. And thank you for giving me the gift of your Spirit too. Help me to serve you in the tasks you've given to me.

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