Updated: Jan 23
In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did whatever seemed right to him. Judges 21:25
The Book of Judges to me is one big ol rollercoaster! I mean, you're like, "yay! Finally, someone will lead Israel and get it right!" "Ah man, dude, you stink!" "Yay! ☺️" "Ah 🙁" "Yay!" "Ah😒!" "Yay" "COME ON, DUDE! 🤦🏻♀️" Seriously, other than Deborah, when you read the Book of Judges, it is an emotional rollercoaster.
However, it wasn't until I came to this scripture that it struck me differently this year. Reading the Bible start to finish for the 5th-6th time was the first time I heard Judges 21:25. I had always "heard" it before, but this was a new level because I saw clear as day how accurate these Words are still today.
America, our country which claims to have built it’s foundation on the principles of the Bible, can easily see, if honest with ourselves, how far we have turned from those very foundations. Just insert America's name into the scripture, "In those days there was no king (Jesus) in America; everyone (in America) did whatever seemed right to him (her, or "it").
In a world of "self-help" books and "all about me" slogans, do we ever stop thinking about ourselves and focus on the One True Source of life, Jesus? Where do we place God in our daily activities? How did our world become so self-focused that we can't see past our own entitlements and pride? How did we get here? How do we think that this is acceptable behavior in the eyes of our Lord? A beautiful woman recently said in our Wednesday night women's group stated once, "We have lost the fear of God." And that statement could not be more true!
Today our lives are more career-focused then ever. How much money do we make compared to the next person? How tiny can our waist be with a big booty (is this even "in" anymore, or do we want flat butts now, I can't keep up)? How much toxic botox can we inject to keep looking young? Can I buy this part of my body that isn't "perfect"? "I want my house to look like that (insert the Magnolia Farm current trend), and I don't care how much it will put me into debt!" "I prefer to be a man instead of the woman God designed me to be, and I am willing to mutilate my body to get what I feel makes me happy." We no longer reverently fear God because we fear "man" and his opinion of us more.
As my beautiful Pastor says, "you say you know the Lord, but if honest with yourself, do you KNOW the Lord, or do you know of the Lord?" Big difference! And I am going to build on that by asking, as my previous post stated, "how much meat are you consuming yourself versus relying on others to bottle feed you about God?
“They worshiped the Lord, but they also appointed all sorts of their own people to officiate for them as priests in the shrines at the high places. They worshiped the Lord, but they also served their own gods in accordance with the customs of the nations from which they had been brought. To this day they persist in their former practices. They neither worship the Lord nor adhere to the decrees and regulations, the laws and commands that the Lord gave the descendants of Jacob, whom he named Israel.” 2 Kings 17:32-34 NIV
2 Kings goes on to state:
“They would not listen, however, but persisted in their former practices. Even while these people were worshiping the Lord, they were serving their idols. To this day their children and grandchildren continue to do as their ancestors did.” 2 Kings 17:40-41 NIV
Can you insert your name into this scripture? For example, I will go first:
"ALLIE would not listen, however, but persisted in her former practices. Even while Allie was worshiping the Lord, she served her idols of money, business, body image, sex, occult, new age, shopping, and family before God. To this day, her children and grandchildren continue to do as their mother did by pursuing a career, money, fame; while also accumulating unneeded debt and a milk-fed version of God stirred in with some dangerous "new age" perspectives that fit "their own beliefs" over the truth of God's Word."
I am not asking you to insert your name into the scriptures publicly. Just asking you to sit down, read the scriptures, and ask yourself what you are putting before God? How much are you genuinely dwelling in Him alone?
The cool part is that the list of idols I used to have is not nearly as long now that I spend so much time with the Lord. This list was DOUBLED the size before accepting Jesus into my life as my Lord and Savior, and letting the Holy Spirit do His work on me. I can't lie; I am a little embarrassed to share ALL of my past idols because we as people judge harshly. But our God is so amazing and filled with so much mercy that He knew me at my worst, and is now calling me higher to His Best that He has for me. The point is, I am forever a work in progress. My goal is to NOT pick back up old idols, and to surround myself with genuine brothers and sisters in Christ who assist in guiding me back to Him.
Jesus' sacrifice and my acceptance of Him as my Lord and Savior, I am made new now, and knowing the list of idols from above isn't current today, it is fantastic to see that transformation in me because of HIM. Because honestly, you cannot constantly spend time in the Lord's Word and Presence and NOT start to change and be made new.
“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV
Seriously, it is no wonder Joshua became the next leader of Israel after Moses passed away! Check out this fantastic little "nugget" gem hidden in scripture:
“The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.” Exodus 33:11 NIV
I mean, OF COURSE, Joshua was the next leader of Israel. OF COURSE he was! Because when you sit in the presence of the Lord, He will equip you! In His presence you are consumed by Him and made able to fulfill your created purpose. I remember the very first time I ever read the Bible cover-to-cover and asking, "Huh, wonder why Joshua was chosen?" God, faithful and true as He always is, highlighted that one little part of a sentence this year! And how beautiful it is! I mean, WOW! I'm always left in such awe of Him and His Word!
God called me to be a mother, wife, photographer, homeschool mama, and now blogger of His Good News. Therefore, standing in God's constant presence can be a bit more difficult for me as it probably is for you as well. Joshua didn't have little feet running around bumping their heads on things or knocking each other over their heads. Not to mention schooling his children to read, write and do the math. Then there’s, daily work, life events, clients needing photos on time. Oh, and did I forget the house to maintain and keep in order? Can you relate? It is challenging to be in the Lord’s presence when we have responsibilities. I imagine our lives look a lot different than Joshua's time. I have to say that I am envious of his extraordinary gift to be able never to leave the tent of God.
I earnestly long to be in God's presence in such a way. To wash His feet with my hair, simply hear His beautiful voice speak, and smell his presence constantly. I honestly do not have the words for how much I yearn for this very dwelling daily. I am a woman after God's own heart, and I don't ever want to turn back to my old way of life as the Israelites did in the Book of Judges and throughout all the evil kings of the Books of 1 & 2 Kings. Instead, I want the Lord to destroy every single idol in my life so that my life and my family's life can be a true reflection of Him and His amazing grace and love. I do this by trying to be in His Word and listening for His Whisper constantly. CONSTANTLY. And I am eager to change when He shows me what needs to change—even the hard things. I’m guilty of whining, but I do my very best to listen and obey.
I am seriously concerned when I read Judges 21:25. Where is our world going if we forget our one true King? As I quoted in my previous post, 1 Samuel 8:7, "But the Lord told him, "Listen to the people and everything they say to you. They have not rejected you; they have rejected me as their king."
How much longer can we all act like we are free to live this way? That our actions do not have consequences? And not just for ourselves, but for our children as well? How entitled have we become if we are creating an even more entitled generation? Where in the world did Jesus ever say that vanity, plastic surgery, botox, sexual perversion, career, fame, and money was ever a part of His beautiful design? Why do we feel we are allowed to alter His fantastic creation in any shape or form? Why do we think Jesus loves each of our individual "kingdom’s” we are creating more than His? Do we think Jesus likes that we are promoting ourselves over Him constantly? Show me in the scriptures where it states these things are in pursuit of Jesus.
WHY DO WE CARE SO MUCH ABOUT OUR APPEARANCE?
How does it glorify the Kingdom of God?
WHY DO WE CARE SO MUCH ABOUT OUR CAREER?
How does it glorify the Kingdom of God?
So I have to ask, are you an Israelite living life the way you see fit? Or, are you a Joshua dwelling in the Lord constantly? Where is your heart? Answer yourself honestly because I can promise you God already knows the answer. Will you humble yourself and meet Him there so He can begin a good work in you?
Please feel free to share and reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org