When my parents were first married they lived in Idaho. My mama was a school teacher and my dad was a candy salesman. When I was two years old, my dad came home and told my mom he wanted to sell the house, move to Washington and start an electrical contracting business with my grandparents. My mom was surprised. Shocked really.
How do you know when a drastic crazy idea is the right one? Research, time, advisors? Those are wise, but in this case were not available. So my mom prayed "God, please sell our house in such a way that I will never forget that you were the one who answered."
Thirty-eight years later and my mom still tells the story of the weeks of silence, nothing happening, no offers. She says that the day before they were to move there was a full price cash offer. She says she doesn't ask God for memorable answers anymore because it about stopped her heart. God's just when you need it timing can be scary. But she said she got in the car with full clear knowledge that the move was the right one.
The book of Judges is a cycle of stories where the people of Israel wandered off course, they found themselves in a serious mess and begged God for deliverance. Again. And again. So God would send a judge. Not a judge in a courtroom. These judges were warriors who would go battle and save the people. Judges is a violent and sad book. It's also a book that reminds me that God will use flawed people to bring about his purproses. He'll rescue his people when they call. God hears and answers. God wants us to know that He is mighty to save. He is faithful to keep His promises.
"The angel of the LORD went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said to the Israelites, "I brought you out of Egypt into this land that I swore to give your ancestors, and I said I would never break my covenant with you." Judges 2:1
I went to a meeting last night for a much loved ministry. Change is coming. Not our choice. Not a surprise to God. The leadership team has studied options, researched costs, brainstormed solutions. They laid it out. We asked questions, added numbers and racked our brains for ideas. Then we prayed. Part of what we prayed is that God would make the next steps clear.
I think about the judges in this book frequently. I tell my daughters about the warrior Deborah. She's as tough as they come. She knew that God would fight for her. I'm strongest when I remember that as well. I'm strong when I'm dependent. Strong when I'm weak.
I talk about Sampson. That man wrecked his life by flirting with the enemy. Seriously. When someone has proven to be dangerous to your safety - love and forgive them - but do it with safe boundaries.
I talk about Gideon and how God called him but he was s c a r e d and c o n f u s e d. No question his people needed help, they were starving and in great oppression. So Gideon asked God for a sign. He laid out a sheep's skin, a fleece, and asked God that if Gideon was supposed to really act that the fleece in the morning would be dry and the ground wet. God answered. Next night Gideon asked that the fleece would be wet and the ground dry. God answered. Tangible clear sign to proceed.
"When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, "The LORD is with you, mighty warrior." Judges 6:12
I don't actually think that fleeces are the best spirtual practice available. I think God gives us brains for a purpose. The Bible is very clear about the wisdom of seeking counsel, of waiting for clear direction, of resources and planning. But when I'm at a crossroads I ask for directions. The people in Jesus' day asked for a sign - and the one he gave was himself on the cross. Love and Sacrifice. Clear directions.
Have you seen our society? It's a mess. When children are sold for sex you know something is off. I'm grateful that God still sends people to fight. It may be that He has called you. Not to grab a jawbone and take out the enemy. No burning fox tails required. The weapons have changed. The best weapons are grace and love and the best battle plan is sacrifice. Don't forget that when you don't know the next best step that God will answer. It's best to wait until that's clear. Just buckle up. It can be a wild ride.
Click on the video below for the Judges installment from The Bible Project's Read Scripture program. I love how they fit this one into the grand story of the Bible. Sometimes I wonder how the violence fits in. This is a good walk through.
I love the reminder that God is able to rescue us when we call. Take a minute today and remember that He is Mighty to Save.
"Hear this, you kings! Listen, you rulers! I, even I, will sing to the LORD; I will praise the LORD, the God of Israel, in song." Judges 5:3
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
Sign up to receive Mindy's Quirk-E-Mails