Day 97: Judges 20-21; Luke 11:1-28

It is so easy to judge another culture by our own cultural standards and mores. To us, the resolution of the Benjamite tragedy seems peculiar, very strange (Judges 21). That is certainly not how we would have done things. Putting cultural differences aside, however, look at the heart of the Israelites: So the people went to Bethel and sat there before God until evening. They wept loudly and bitterly, and cried out, “Why, LORD God of Israel, has it occurred that one tribe is missing in Israel today?” (Judges 21:2-3, CSB). Bethel means 'House of God.' The writer identifies this God as Yahweh Elohim of Israel. Their concern is that the God Who created and established this called-out family in covenant love, would keep it whole. Their hearts are passionate for this, and their commitment is to see it accomplished to the extreme. There is no denying this.

Forgive me this stretch, but here the heart of it. Today is Good Friday. It is a day in which we remember that the God of the universe, Creator and Sovereign God (Elohim), the Ever-present and Covenant Keeping I AM (Yahweh), does something for us that seems strange and beyond comprehension. He sacrifices His Only Son to save us from eternal annihilation. His Only Son willingly takes our sin upon Himself and dies our death to offer us eternal life. This is love to the extreme! His plan and purpose: to make His Family whole again and bring us to His eternal Bethel. Thanks be to God for His indescribable Gift! Ponder the extent of His great love, mercy and grace.

Then, embrace the heart of Israel's intercession that the lost tribe of humanity around us will hear this great Good News and return home to the heart of God. Yes, and be the bearer of that great Good News!  

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