Scripture: Judges 3:7-11
So the land had rest forty years.
Judges 3:11 NRSV
They (those Israelites) did it again! They did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. It is a recurring pattern in their life with God. They sin against God. God punishes them. They cry out to God for help … for deliverance. God provides an escape route and all is well for awhile until their faith lapses and they sin against God.
Their sin this time was forgetting God and worshipping (idols) the Baals and Asherahs. God became angry and turned them over to King Cushan-rishathaim. They would serve him eight years. They cried out to God for deliverance. This time God raised up for them a leader, Othniel son of Kenaz, who was Caleb’s younger brother. The spirit of the Lord came upon Othniel and he became Israel’s first judge and went to war. Cushan-rishathaim, king of Aram is defeated by Othniel. God’s faithfulness and compassion have brought Israel this victory through Othniel. Under Othniel’s leadership, the people enjoy living in the land. Peace and security prevail. Noticeably absent are conflicts with enemies and war. Othniel proves to be a model judge in this system of Israelite governance.
How many of you would agree with me that our country could benefit from forty years of rest … not just between our country and the nations but within our country? I believe it would be quite a blessing! If that is not achievable, then perhaps it would be best for all of us to pray: “Come Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20b)
O God, guard us from living according to the pattern of the Israelites: “doing what is evil in Your sight, being punished, crying for help, being delivered, living faithfully and then doing again what is evil in Your sight.” Forgive us of our sins. Help us to amend our lives. Inspire us to be and equip us for peacemaking. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.