Day 126, 4th January: Judges, John and Psalms
If you don’t ask…
There are some women in the Bible I’m looking forward to having a chat with in heaven. Mary the mother of Jesus is one of them, I’d like to ask her about what Jesus was like as a teenager and I think she’d be pretty lovely. Deborah is not one of them. I’d be worried that Deborah would kick my head in. In Judges today this is a fierce passage about fierce people.
Not only do Deborah and her mate Barak call Israel to war and put an end to Sisera, they then sing a victory song about it. They are rejoicing in the defeat of these people and cry “So may all your enemies perish, O LORD! But may they who love you be like the sun when it rises in its strength.” (Jgs 5:31). At first reading this passage grates on our way of thinking about how God should behave. Certainly today we don’t like to think of God as orchestrating the death of people. Yet we can’t get away from the fact that that is what He’s doing here.
Why would God do this?
The passage is quite straightforward in its answer. God did it because Sisera was messing with God’s people and when they asked Him for help He was always going to be there. God’s like a massively strong Dad – of course He’s going to step in to protect His children when they cry out for help. And He’ll step in to help you… You just need to ask.
I’m not saying if we ask for God to kill people He’s going to do it. In the passage in John Jesus is strolling through the world with a power and presence only God could have and He’s bringing life. Through Jesus healing and forgiveness and freedom arrives to people all over Israel. There’s one interesting thing about lots of his miracles though – usually it involves someone asking for them. The royal official asks for his son, the invalid at the pool responds to Jesus’ question. There aren’t many places in the Bible where God acts without someone asking Him. There’s another name for ‘asking God for something’, it’s prayer.
What was the last thing you asked God for? It might have been for you or for someone else. Sometimes He answers prayer straight away – like with the healings in John. Other times we pray and we pray and we keep praying. When we ask God for things we always get an answer – even if the answer is ‘no’ or ‘not yet’ or ‘keep asking’. A guy called John Wimber was once asked whether everyone he prayed for got healed. He replied that ‘When I pray for healing not everyone is healed, but some are. When I don’t pray for healing no one gets healed.’
The Bible and the years since Jesus are full of Christians who’ve sought God’s help. I want to be one of them. It just seems to be more fun that way….
Today’s picture was taken by…
Jess Wiffen. Thanks Jess!
If you’d like to take your own picture to potentially be featured on the blog, then get your Soul Survivor Bible in One Year, and take a picture of yourself – and your Bible – at some interesting or colourful location. Then email it to us at email@example.com.
The pictures will need to be a pretty good resolution (we use 640px by 360 px so at least as big as that), landscape photos work best and if you include the day of the reading in the picture then make sure you send it to us a good few days before that reading, so we have time to include it in that day’s post! We’ll credit all photographers!