For years I overlooked and undervalued the wisdom and teaching of the Old Testament. The post below is something I wrote back in November 2016 and shared on my personal blog. I wanted to share it with all of you too, because I think it's important...
The phrase, "nothing new under the sun," from Ecclesiastes came to mind this morning as I was reading through Judges. Also the idea of perpetual or repeated sin...
I look around at everything these days... media, my community, our nation, humanity and think, "Could it get any worse? Is this the worst it's ever been?"
I mean really! Should I be prepared for more?
...Then I read Judges 2 this morning, about the Israelites forgetting their miracle working God, and a new generation coming up not really knowing or even believing in Him at all. Sound familiar? Then, the Israelites start turning to their own ways. Idol worship (remember that can be anything put before God and also literal other man-made objects), following foreign gods (and these aren't like out-of-towners, these are false deities), and practicing rituals of sacrifice, sacred prostitution, etc.
hmm... yea that sounds pretty bad to me.
But then I look at where we are today. Have we learned anything from them? I mean really. Do Christians even know these Old Testament stories about the Israelites? I didn't. Not really.
I've chosen (and the Lord has pushed me) over the past two years to read through the Bible book by book, and in two years I am only in Judges, but the Lord has been TEACHING ME. Really teaching me.
Reading some (a lot) of it has felt like spending 40 years in the wilderness myself...the repetition in phrasing, the reminders of who God is, the pillars or monuments setup to remind Israel of their miracle working God...it all seemed SO redundant. I even asked God, why? Why so much of the same? I get it already! Don't they get it already?
...Until I got to the end of Deuteronomy, and read through Joshua, and into Judges. Guess what? Guess what the Israelites did? After older generations died, the miracle-seeing generations died, and the new generations came through...guess what happened? They didn't remember. They didn't "keep these things" which the Lord commanded, or taught, or showed them, time and time again...
So then I sat back and thought... this! This is why, Lord, you repeated yourself. Why you told them time and time again. Why you provided the 10 commandments. Why you specifically instructed them on entering the Promised Land. Why you told them to annihilate wicked cities. Why you wanted them to rid themselves of ALL those people. Not just the ones that looked mean...all of them... those people didn't know You, and You knew they would influence and blind the Israelites. You knew those people would cause them to stumble, fall into temptations, and FORGET You.
But as I read in Judges 2 this morning, you sent an angel (pre-incarnate Jesus) to remind them of Your faithfulness to them. To remind them of their deliverance out of Egypt, the wilderness, and into the Promised Land. And to remind them that You will never break Your covenant with them (Judges 2:1)...but because of their, the Israelites, disobedience to You, they would forfeit, throw away blessings, and even trade them for troubles.
Why? Because they forgot!
Lord, I didn't know for the longest time why I should even read the Old Testament. I didn't see its relevance to me, to our generation...I was so mistaken. I needed to read it to learn, so that I could remember Your goodness and faithfulness to Israel...I am not an Israelite, but, man, I sure look a lot like them. I sure act a lot like them. But my prayer this morning is that I don't keep forgetting like them. Like they did. My prayer is for the generation of my children to know You and remember You because of what You alone have used the Israelites to teach me. So that I might help them to not forget...so that no one may ever look back and say of my children and their generation, "they forgot."
With love & laughter,
Over the last few months I’ve had several people look at me with all three of my kids and say, “man you’re in the trenches right now!” or “I remember those days-surviving the trenches!”
My first thought was like, my life doesn't feel very “trench” like?! Should I hate where I am in life right now? Should I be more exhausted? Are my kids being crazy? AM I CRAZY?…it didn’t feel that way.
But then each week it seemed I’d find myself dealing with more and more stress… my 2 1/2 year old started displaying new and undesirable behaviors. My 6 month old became more sick and more clingy. My 5 1/2 year old became even more argumentative than normal. What was happening? uh-oh…the dreaded trenches.
My inner monologue started rolling..ok THESE are the trenches they were talking about. I guess I’ll just have to do my best to survive each day…get through each moment. I know it’s not fun right now, but it’s only a season. I can’t enjoy playing with this child or that one, because of what this one or that one is doing. I’ll find time later. This is ONLY a season.
Ok let’s STOP. Let’s stop right there. All of the above are thoughts we have all had- I am sure of it! And we have all said or been told that whatever current difficulty we are going through is just a season we will “get through.” Well, guess what? That whole sentiment has been super convicting to me lately. Let me tell you why…
Life is hard.
Mom-ing is hard.
Wife-ing is hard.
Friend-ing is hard.
Work-ing is hard.
Love-ing is hard.
Change-ing is hard.
But they’re also all very rewarding.
If we get caught up in the middle of “getting through” any of them, we risk missing out on the JOY in every single one of them. Especially mom-ing.
And calling everything a season seems a little like a copout… Life is full of seasons. Like literally and figuratively… but I don’t want to just get through each season of my life. I don’t want to just survive the trenches. How about we stop referring to periods of life as seasons or trenches and just call it life. Cause I mean, that’s what it is…and when I think about my life... well, I don’t just wanna “get through” that.
I want to live my life…
I want to grow in my life…
I want to remember my life…
I want to experience my life …
I want to find JOY in each and every moment of my life.
I’m just not too sure that viewing a period of your life as a trench, season, or something to “get through” accomplishes that.
We all, especially us mamas, have to be so intentional. We have to guard our hearts. We can’t let what the world says be the loudest voice we hear. We have to intently listen for that still, small, yet true voice of the Father. What does He want you to learn, experience, or remember in this moment (difficult as it may be)? Cause, I’m telling you…that’s where the joy is.
There is joy to be found in all of the good and in all of the not so good that comes with being a mama. Whether your children are little or grownup, there is still so much joy to be had. We just have to put off more of ourselves and put on more of Christ. His love, grace, and mercy will help us find the joy we desire.
So for me, for this mama... I want to stop the trench-living and “getting through” seasons. Life will always have obstacles to overcome, and I surely don’t want to miss out on the joy because I’m too busy trying to get through the course.
How bout it, mamas...will you join me?
With love & laughter,
Ok… you might be a mom to littles if your first thought was Frozen! Am I right? That was mine!
But seriously- today in my quiet time it was coronation day! Saul’s coronation...
I have been reading through 1 Samuel for the last couple of weeks and it has been great. I have previously heard several of the stories, but to read it as a collective book has been so impactful!
Quick history lesson: Samuel was a prophet and the son of Hannah and Elkanah. Hannah is the woman who was barren and prayed and asked the Lord to bless her with a son whom she would then give back to the Lord. I am sure there are women reading this now who have either prayed a prayer similar to Hannah’s or know someone who has. It was a powerful prayer because it was done in complete humility. She could not have children and acknowledged her need for God to intervene. She prayed, “O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of my life…”
Two things: 1) she refers to herself repeatedly as a maidservant to show her humility and dependence on God and 2) she asks specifically (we need to pray more specifically) for a MALE to perpetuate the name of her husband.
Fast forward- God answers her prayer, and boom there’s Samuel! …And then Hannah had additional children after that as well, because God does things BIG.
Ok-back to coronation day. In Samuel’s day up until this point there had been judges who upheld the law and prophets who were regarded very highly as they were given direct words from God. But guess what? The Israelites were over it. They were over judges. They wanted a king. Why did they want a king? Because eeeeeverybody else had one.
Now doesn't THAT sound familiar? They wanted something because everyone else had it. Here’s where I started my questioning cycle with the Lord…Are we still so much the same? Yes! We do the same thing. Our kids do the same thing. This WORLD does the same thing!
We want what everybody else has, because we think it will be sooo much better than what we currently have. For the Israelites, it was a king.
Now-something to understand… switching from judges to a king would COMPLETELY change their form of government. Completely. Did they know that? Yep! In 1 Samuel 8, Samuel even says to them, ok you want a king? It’s gonna be crazy, and you’re gonna be dealing with a whole new system. Your best will now be HIS (the king’s) best. Your best food, animals, property, men, women, etc. So you still want a king?
….yep! (insert eye roll)
THESE PEOPLE! They were even warned and yet, there they were singing the “give us a king” song all day long.
…but there was more to it than that. See, they already had a king. The Lord, the God of Israel who brought them out of Egypt, He was their king. But they didn’t get that. They wanted a king who they could see, hear, smell, touch…they weren't satisfied with the King of all Kings, nope. They needed a man.
Again- doesn’t this sound so familiar? We do that same thing. We as Christians have access and direct communication to the source of all things and yet, often times, it’s not enough. Ouch! As I type that it hurts me to even think we are (I am) like that, but we are (I am). Forgive us, Father. Help us to not want our own way so badly that we seek the things and the people who will fail us and fade away.
OK- fast forward a bit more and we have Saul who God told Samuel to appoint as king. Samuel tells Saul and it’s finally coronation day! You would think that Samuel would give this elaborate, special speech to send Saul off into his kingship, but instead, he addresses (reprimands) Israel one more time. Samuel reminds them of their history and all the Lord has done for them and the ways in which they have been wicked, even in desiring this king. Saul is literally becoming king and Samuel is declaring it a form of rebellion against God! He is insuring the Israelites that if they and their king serve and obey the Lord, they will find favor. But if they turn to their own ways, His hand will be against them. Seems like a basic concept, right? …it is! But how many times had they been told this same story? Sheesh. Lots. Samuel closes by telling them that he will continue to pray for them and teach them the way that is right.
So overall- there are a few things that come to mind at the close of this coronation:
Like I said, this story could preeeeetty much be taken out and put into today’s society and measure up pretty well. We still do so much of this today. Especially in politics. (yikes!) We live in a world that is rejecting the one true God and following after other “gods” or idols much like in Samuel’s day. So if we are like the Israelite people in desiring things we don’t really need and then begging and promising to do whatever is required in order to get what we want but don’t really need…who are the Samuels? Are you a Samuel? Are you sold out to obedience, speaking truth, and praying for those who make unwise decisions? It’s an interesting thought. It’s an important thought. Cause guess what? God’s grace and mercy are still the same and they’re still available to all people, but not all people know that. We, as Samuels, can be the speakers of truth, the examples of obedience, and the extension of God’s grace to those who need it most. Think about it!
With love & laughter,
Mom 2 Mom
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