Uprooted

God's Story For My Life

Day 182: Read today’s devotional on Bible Gateway.

Read Judges 1:1-36

Then Judah joined with Simeon to fight against the Canaanites living in Zephath, and they completely destroyed the town. So the town was named Hormah. . . .

The tribe of Benjamin, however, failed to drive out the Jebusites, who were living in Jerusalem. So to this day the Jebusites live in Jerusalem among the people of Benjamin.
(Judges 1:17, 21)

Reflect

Israel’s mission seems unjust. Why would God command them to uproot and displace entire people groups?

God did not decide this on a whim, nor was he favoring his chosen people, Israel. He had waited 700 years for “the sins of the Amorites” to “warrant their destruction” (Genesis 15:16). That means Israel had suffered in slavery and the wilderness so that God could be gracious to the people groups living in the Promised Land. Now, they were to be judged for their sin.

The Israelites, however, failed to obey God’s command and failed to drive the evil Canaanites out of the land. God would eventually judge the Israelites, too, for becoming as evil as the people they were ordered to drive out (2 Kings 17; 25; Jeremiah 6:18-19; Ezekiel 8). Israel’s obedience was meant to fulfill God’s plan, but Israel’s disobedience left God’s work unfinished.

Often we do the same thing. We choose to tolerate sin rather than drive it out of our lives. We may know what God wants but just not follow through. When we fail to obey God, we fail to be part of the work God has for us.

Respond

Is there sin in your life that you’re making room for? God did not ask the Israelites to go alone into battle against the Canaanites; he promised to go with them, and even ahead of them (Josh 3:10). Ask God to drive the sin out of your life, but be ready to go with him. Are you ready to give up the sin that’s still living in your heart? If not, talk with God about what’s holding you back.

Hoekstra’s Day by Day by Grace (July 4th)

God Promising His Messiah to the Gentiles

I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness, and will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the Gentiles…It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.” 

As we have seen, God, the Father, promised to give Jesus, the Messiah, to His people as the new covenant of grace. “I, the LORD…will keep You and give Youas a covenant to the people.” Thus, God’s resources of grace are only available through relationship with Christ. Furthermore, the Father promised that His covenant of grace through his Son would extend to all the Gentile nations: “that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.”

It is clear that the Messiah’s mission would initially be to the house of Israel, to the Jewish people. “‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘that I will perform that good thing which I have promised to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah: In those days and at that time I will cause to grow up to David a Branch of righteousness'” (Jeremiah 33:14-15). Jesus’ initial instructions to His disciples were in line with this truth. “These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: ‘Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel'” (Matthew 10:5-6).

Yet, God’s promises were much larger than solely reaching His chosen people, Israel. “It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel.” God wanted His light to shine out into the nations. “I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles.” The Father wanted His saving grace to extend throughout the world: “that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.”

At the appropriate time, Jesus also instructed His followers in the worldwide dimensions of His mission. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature…that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem…But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Matthew 28:19Mark 16:15Luke 24:47; and Acts 1:8).

O Lord God, how extensive are Your promises. I thank You that they reached to me. Yet, I need my thinking to be enlarged by Your promises. Transform my vision and my prayers to include the entire world, in Jesus’ name, Amen.


Daily Promises (July 4th)

The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. (Psalm 121:7)

Reflection

While tragedy may beset us while we travail in this present age, our assurance is firm: our great God and Father shall prevent our downfall until that glorious day when we shall stand evermore in victory ultimate in the name of Christ Jesus our Lord. Praise Him till He returns and then praise Him throughout eternity!