In September, I spent a couple of weeks reading the book of Judges for my devotional time in the morning. I chose it because I wanted to read something that was mostly stories; I guess I was a bit burned out from 18 months spent memorizing texts from each book in the Bible. Judges seemed like an easy read--something that would keep my interest. (My devotional time is early, 5:45am, and sometimes I get sleepy) It wasn't long before I realized that I was completely wrong about Judges, and that I wasn't going to be able to relax through this read. I also wondered whether my choice reflected a subconscious need to evaluate my choices. The following is a journal entry from 9/7/12:
"I began reading Judges today. It's probably one of the more discouraging books in the Bible--an almost endless cycle of apostasy and repentance. It's actually a lot like my life at times. I cycle back and forth between my own selfish desires and the revelation of God's truth convicting me. Following God seems so easy and clear as I sit here in the early mornings--and then I step into the real world full of irritants and stressors and I let them get between me and God. It doesn't happen every day, but it is so discouraging. I think that's why I picked Judges. I need to focus on this issue in my own life."
I figured out quickly that my original goal in choosing Judges was not going to be realized! Judges was so challenging to my personal relationship with God and opened my eyes up to the ways that I was slipping again and again. By 9/21/12, I had reached this conclusion:
"I'm reading in Judges right now. I used to think that the stories in Exodus described the greatest faithlessness, but now I'm pretty sure it's in Judges. Time and again, the people of Israel fall away from worshiping their Deliverer. They choose worship of gods they make, rather than the God who made them. Judges is rather tragic and discouraging to read. It shows just how easily the sinful human is able to disconnect from the Creator. We have people all over this planet spending their days stuffing their lives with 'things' and 'activities' in a desperate attempt to fill the God-shaped hole in their souls. But, nothing else can fill it. Now I wonder how often I put the wrong things into that spot reserved for the Lord. It's probably much more often than I realize or would be willing to admit."
That's right folks--God can use our own desire to make things easier and point us right at the lesson we most need to learn!