Reading 1 - Judges
Notice, as you read through the book of Judges, how in so many ways it forms a contrast (and an unpleasant one at that!) with the previous book of Joshua.
Joshua and Judges contrasted:
Joshua - Judges
Victory - Defeat
Freedom - Servitude
Faith - Unbelief
Progress - Decline
Spiritual vision - Earthly emphasis
Fidelity to the LORD - Apostasy from the LORD
Joy - Sorrow
Strength - Weakness
Sense of unity - Anarchy
Sin judged - Sin lightly regarded
But, in Judges, whereas the nation as a whole fails, many times and miserably, God still brings deliverance and salvation. And, in the Book, He is often seen to act by the most insignificant and ordinary means. The "little" instruments which He uses include:
A left hand and a dagger (Jdg 3:15,16).
An ox-goad (Jdg 3:31).
A tent-peg (Jdg 4:21,22).
A woman (Jdg 5:7).
300 men with pitchers and lamps (Jdg 7:6-16).
A woman and a stone (Jdg 9:53).
A social outcast (Jdg 11:2,3).
The jawbone of an ass (Jdg 15:16).
300 foxes with firebrands (Jdg 15:4).
And thus the Almighty demonstrates that His strength is made perfect in the weakness of His servants, so that no flesh should glory in the presence of God (1Co 1:27; 2Co 12:9).
Reading 2 - Isa 30:21
"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it' " (Isa 30:21).
"We must get our joy and satisfaction in God and from God. It is not just wrong to get it elsewhere: it is impossible. The real thing doesn't exist anywhere else. God is Light, and the only Light. God is Love, and the only Love. God is Life, and the only Life.
"The disciples were often childish and limited as they followed Christ, but they had one thing perfectly straight in their minds, and it was the root of everything else: there's just nowhere else to go. All other roads are at last dead ends. Most people spend their lives running away from reality, and seeking substance where there is only shadow; seeking permanence where there is only brevity and dissolution; seeking security in that which is inherently insecure; seeking peace and satisfaction down a seemingly pleasing road that must inevitably end in the dark swamp of sorrow and emptiness, and -- if there is enough mental capacity then left to comprehend the tragedy -- in bitter remorse and regret.
"There is only one high, narrow, hard way out of it all, to eternity and peace and life: total dedication of this life to God, total swallowing up of this life in Christ. The vast majority go the wrong way. That's tragic. Many go toward the right way, but not far enough. That's even more tragic. Let us realize the infinite bigness and glory of it. It must loom so large to us as to overwhelm and dominate our every thought and action -- or we haven't really gotten close enough to it yet for its mighty, irresistible gravity to draw us totally into itself. Why go just part way toward God and glory?" (GVG).
Reading 3 - Heb 13:4
"Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral" (Heb 13:4).
"Filth, corruption, immorality, unrestrained fleshly lust: these become more and more 'normal' for the cesspool of modern society in which we live. Marriage making and breaking at whim: living together in adultery without marriage. The statistics of fornication among teenagers, and even sub-teenagers, are appalling. It was for these filthy things the Canaanites and Sodomites were wiped out, and God has not lessened His fiery and holy indignation against all such animal depravities. It is a time of great peril for the ecclesias. Without constant vigilance, we are certain to be affected in our thinking by the vast weight of the corrupt world pressing in upon us. True, we see these things as 'wrong,' but the constant familiarity dulls the sense of outrage and disgust and alarm. Our children are brought into continuous contact with this vile atmosphere in the schools. There are 'decent' people left in the world around us, but their numbers and influence and authority are shrinking rapidly before the rising tide of filth. And the teaching class, as a whole, like the news media, are in the vanguard of the downward march to bestiality, under the plea of 'emancipation' and 'enlightenment.' What can we do? The very least we can do is to speak out very plainly; not to countenance these vile abominations for a moment; to make our disgust and disapproval very clear; and -- regardless of closeness of relationship -- to faithfully try to protect our ecclesias and our children from any contact with those who deliberately choose to trample God's holy law in the mire of the world's pig-pen. Let us be motivated totally by the Spirit and in no measure by the flesh. Let us stand up for purity and holiness!" (GV Growcott).