The OT reading today is Judges3:7-31
Here we have 3 men that the Lord uses to deliver Israel from it’s enemies. The Lord has been punishing and disciplining this defiant Israel that keeps turning its back on its God. and following the gods of the nations around them.
The Lord has then caused Israel to be subject to other nations. In their time of suffering Israel calls out to the Lord for deliverance.
The first deliverer is Othniel. The “Spirit of the Lord” falls upon him and through his actions peace comes. Doesn’t last though…..”once again Israel did evil in the eyes of the Lord”
And this is the part all the little boys love and snigger at……
This time the Lord uses Eglon the really fat Moabite king to subdue Israel. Again Israel cries out and God sends a deliverer……lefty Ehud with the REALLY BIG sword. He plunges it deep into Eglon’s gut and left it there! The noises Eglon makes as he’s dying sound like he’s having difficulty with a bowel motion. Initially his attendants are too embarrassed to enter the locked room…….when they do he’s already dead and Ehud has made his getaway!
Ehud wipes out 10,000 Moabite men and there is peace for 80 years.
Shamgar is also mentioned with his Philistine killing ox stick.
Now will this peace last, will Israel continue to honour the Lord?
To me it seems when Israel earnestly cries out to God he listens and delivers them. For a time all is well but the nation falls down usually committing the same sin – following other gods.So is their repentance true?
Of course we can ask this question of ourselves as we often sin repeatedly in the same way. In Christ there is forgiveness but it’s not cheap!
In the reading Matt23:1-12
Jesus addresses the crowd and disciples by pointing out the hypocrisy of the Pharisees.
In tomorrows reading he launches into the “7 woes” where directly speaks strongly to these teachers of the law about their hypocrisy.
But today He tells his listeners to do what the Pharisees say but not what they do. Their teaching is negated by their actions – they don’t practice what they preach. Their message is burdensome. they are not humble and love to display their false piety.
Whoa! (pun intended!) easy application here I think. We are often right to say “do as I say, not as I do” Words are easy, even correct ones but they’re not so easy if our lives don’t line up. So often the church i.e. us are accused of hypocrisy, sometimes without cause but sometimes rightly so.
So let’s spur one and other on toward love and good deeds.