We finished our in-home study of Judges before Christmas, but I never got around to posting the online part.
The night of our last study I received word that a very close family friend had gone to be with the Lord. Writing discussion highlights fell by the wayside as I booked flights and spent the weekend celebrating the life of an amazing man, one who ran the race well and beat us all to that great reunion with our Creator. That sounds quite jubilant. It was actually, as you can imagine, an exceedingly difficult weekend. That weekend tumbled into an unusual Christmas and … well, here we are in the new year and I’ve yet to finish things up!
The good news is that the workbook we used overlaps with our next study which we’ll begin soon. Oh, I’m getting ahead of myself.
The theme of Judges has been consistent. The people did what was right in their own eyes BUT God is still ceaselessly loving. He is tenacious in bringing people back to Himself even as they try to push Him away. Not because He desires to control them, but because He loves them and desperately wants what is good and best for them.
This living God is our God, and He pursues you and me in the same relentless way.
“For I am convinced that neitherdeath, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
~ Romans 8:38–39 (NASB)
These two verses are integral to my personal testimony, the way I came to Christ.
My life is pretty Leave-It-To-Beaver-Cleaver-perfect right now, but it wasn’t always this way. I grew up under the shadow of fear and abuse. My family went through a lot, the whole time professing God’s goodness. By the time I hit middle school, I had had enough of their god. If his idea of goodness was what I had already lived and witnessed, I wanted to be as far from him as possible.
The good news, however, is that the true and living God wouldn’t let me go. He loved me enough to overcome my objections, my erroneous perceptions of Him, even my splintered, dysfunctional past.
If you question God’s love for you or the way He seems to be working around you, stop. Look at the book of Judges. I’m pretty sure none of you are running around murdering people for no reason, starting gang rapes, placing hexes and curses on your children, or hacking people into tiny bits to mail around the country. But even if you are, God still loves you … just as He loved the people of ancient Israel. And He offers reconciliation … just as He did to these people gone so far astray.
We started this series asserting that if God can use people arrogant hedonists like Sampson or wimpy doubters like Gideon, He can use you and me. So what are we waiting for?
I have more tidbits from our study that I want to share with you, but those will come on another day. The story of Judges continues in the book of 1 Samuel. That’s what we’re going to study next.
I’m still evaluating the effectiveness of this online Bible study format. It seemed greatly helpful for the in-home group, because they could easily catch up if they missed a week or two, but I would really love to see more online discussion. I’m not sure how to foster that. Feedback is welcome! I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions.
A few things will be changing for our next study. The biggest difference will be the lack of a book. The series we used in the fall, The Coffee Cup Series, does not yet have a workbook on 1 Samuel, so I will be writing the study myself. If you’re interested in joining us, please let me know. I will be emailing “homework” assignments and prayer requests, and I’ll need your email address to keep you in the loop.
Things that will remain the same: general study format (reading and questions), tone (It’s a Big Word and we want to dive deeply into it!), in-home meetings every other Wednesday and online-discussions on Thursdays.
Stay tuned for more details next week.
I hope you’ll join us!