Weekday Devotionals

Devotional by Raquel Simmons

“The Book of Judges is a sobering explanation of the human condition and ultimately points out the need for God’s grace to send a King who will rescue His people.” -The BibleProject

The Old Testament can be difficult for me to follow along with and to grasp the purpose of the stories. At first glance, I see an abundance of disobedience and killing, which can tempt me to believe God is harsh, angry, and unfair. If I were to stop my study there, I would be utterly confused and disinterested in continuing reading the Old Testament. However, there is great news! There is a plethora of resources that have helped me over the years to understand what I am reading. As I dive deeper into study of the books in the Bible through these various resources, I begin to learn the history and culture of that time period. I start to connect the dots and learn the back stories and why it’s important for what’s to come in future books of the Bible. The BibleProject, the Thrive OYB bible study, and podcasts are some of the resources I use to help me better understand what I am reading.

In Judges, we see how the Israelites are on a downward spiral: first they sin, which leads to oppression, which then leads the Israelites to repentance, which then leads to deliverance from a Judge, which then brought about peace (but only for a short while). Then, the pattern would start all over again. Pastor Pete said, “we get from our faith, the effort we put in.” At this time, the Israelites disobeyed God and began following the lifestyle of the Canaanites. They put their effort into worshipping false gods and living life on their own terms, the result was chaos and destruction. They received from their faith the effort they put in.

Pastor Pete also asked us the question, “how spiritually urgent are we?” It is our responsibility to dedicate our time and efforts to growing our faith. Coming to church on Sunday is important, however the “meat and potatoes” of our faith is found in what we do with the other six days. Are we reading our Bible often, attending small group Bible studies, praying and fasting, researching and learning through trusted sources through out the rest of the week? Is our relationship with God the center of our life, or is it just a part of our life? I like to think of it this way, if I only ate on Sundays, I would be starving and struggling the rest of the week. My mood would be miserable and I would view the world in a totally different way than if I fed myself every day. The same goes for our faith. We can’t be spiritually “fed” only one day a week for an hour on Sundays and expect to be filled for the rest of the week. It takes focus and commitment. “Decisions lead, feelings follow.” On days where I have not felt like reading my Bible or I haven’t felt like going to small group, are the days that end up being some of the most impactful times of study.

God loves spiritual urgency and is a proud dad when he sees us seeking Him. Life is hard and we as humans are flawed and make mistakes. That’s okay. God doesn’t expect us to be perfect. But, the Good News is that He sent His own son who was perfect. And who gave his life as an atonement for our sin so that we could be forgiven and in right relationship with God. Jesus was and is the King that the world needed and still needs today.

Challenge: Join the OYB reading plan and small group if you haven’t already! And check out the other amazing resources offered through the Thrive app.

- Raquel




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