Written by Dr. Bryan Maier
Thursday, 05 April 2012 00:00
I am reading the book of Judges to my boys during our nightly Bible time. Judges is not a very upbeat book. Sure there are the dramatic rescues by God of his people but following the deliverance there always comes a slipping and sometimes running back into idolatry as soon as the judge is dead (sometimes they don’t even wait that long!). I have often wondered if it is better to be barely mentioned in Judges (such as Shamgar, 3:31) because the more play a judge gets the more is recorded of his failures (Deborah is one notable exception). Recently we were reading the story of Gideon. It is a wonderful story of God’s deliverance orchestrated in such a way that there could be no other explanation for the victory than God’s supernatural power. Yet somehow Gideon got confused. When the people begged him to assume absolute power, he was smart enough to decline, yet he collected a large part of the spoils and formed it into some kind of idol which became “a snare to Gideon and his household” (8:27).
At this point my reading was interrupted by the exclamation, “What an idiot!” The remainder of the audience (my other two sons) agreed. I was encouraged that my sons could see the error so quickly but I also uttered a prayer that sin would always be so clear, and foolish to them. But we know it is so easy to see the mistakes when they are presented matter-of-factly in a written narrative. It is much harder to recognize our own bent to idolize anything and everything besides God. I am reminded of the phrase from the old hymn, “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love”. The next judge we are scheduled to read about is Sampson, who my boys have already diagnosed as an “epic fail”. So where is the hope? Maybe we have to look past the book of Judges to the advent of the one man on this Earth who did not fail. Soon we will be celebrating death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ which provided ultimate rescue from sin. Because of Christ, the discouraging cycle of the book of Judges will not be permanent. Praise be to God!
Bryan Maier, Psy. D. is an Associate Professor of Counseling & Psychology in the Masters of Arts in Counseling Program at Biblical. He maintains a private practice at Diane Langberg & Associates.