April 3 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“Then they got rid of the foreign gods among them and served the Lord. And he could bear Israel’s misery no longer.” ~ Judges 10:16

The cycle of disobedience and discipline, followed by repentance and restoration, continues in today’s reading. God Himself is growing weary of the Israelite’s habit of galloping back to their false gods the moment He clears their troubles. They are like the proverbial dog returning to its vomit. He finally says (and I paraphrase): “Look, stop coming to Me every time you are in trouble, I’m tired of saving you. Why don’t you ask your “gods’ to save you?” (Judg. 10:13-14). But even while exasperated, God still reveals His undying love for his people. They beg for mercy, and God caves with compassion. “And he could bear Israel’s misery no longer” (Judg. 10:16). I love that phrase. What an expression of God’s love and mercy. He sees His people in trouble, and even though they deserve every bit of it and then some, He cannot watch their suffering for another minute!

What a hope-filled passage. If you have disobeyed God, don’t hide your misery. Come to Him and share how despondent you are! Tell Him you have messed up. Tell Him you are tired. Tell Him you are desperate. Tell Him you long to be restored. But do not do the foolish thing that Jephthah did. He made an imprudent vow to God to secure good favor. Good favor that already belonged to him since God had promised deliverance (Judg. 10:16). His thoughtless promise cost him the life of his only daughter, which leaves us wondering whether this impulsive warrior should have followed through with his awful vow. What is abundantly clear is that he never should have made the promise to begin with. When you are in trouble, don’t make foolish promises. Instead, tell God of your desperate plight, and trust that He will see your misery and say, “I can bear it no longer.” In the words of James the Elder, “The Lord is full of compassion and mercy” (Jas. 5:11).

Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.