Judges 2:18-19  Whenever the LORD raised up a judge for them, he was with the judge and saved them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived; for the LORD had compassion on them as they groaned under those who oppressed and afflicted them.  But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their fathers, following other gods and serving and worshipping them.  They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways.

Is the natural inclination of our hearts any different from that of the Israelites in the time of their settlement in the Promised Land (or throughout their whole sad subsequent history for that matter)?  Is this why the Apostle Paul wrote: “Therefore, I URGE you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. DO NOT CONFORM any longer to the pattern of this world, but BE TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2)?

Is this why Jesus instituted the celebration of the Lord’s Supper with the words: “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19), and why Paul wrote: “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” (1 Corinthians 11:26)?  We ALL need CONSTANT, clear reminders of what it COST our loving God to restore us into fellowship with him if we stand any chance of resisting the pressure we are continually under from our highly ‘infectious’ culture to conform to its thought patterns, ideas and behaviour.

And how important this principle is in relation to our responsibilities, in terms of prayer, teaching, and example, to bring up our children in the ‘nurture and admonition of the Lord’!  Inasmuch as any of us are in a position like the ‘Judges’ of old, do we remain conscious of the fact that ‘the Lord is WITH us’ to apply the message of Psalm 78:3-4 – “What we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us,  we will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done.”, especially as we are in possession of a much clearer picture of God’s saving grace – a picture that the OT saints could only see in shadowy form as they waited expectantly for their promised Messiah?
– Bruce Christian