When I was in middle school, my parents decided that we were going to start doing weekly family bible studies. We were going through this one study on Hebrews and it had something to do with chocolate on the cover. At first, I looked forward to this time together as a family but my older sister was absolutely dreading it. Because of her attitude, I started to have a different view of the bible study too and so it would fall lower and lower on my priorities. I would forget to do the weekly homework because it didn't really matter if I did it or not since my sister never did. Now my family looks back on that time and just laughs at what a disaster it was. What should have been a good thing was a time of conflict and division because of one person's attitude.
I think of the Judges in the Bible and how because of their leading, the people of Israel would have rest and prosperity and peace. And then it says "But whenever the judge died, they turned back and were more corrupt than their fathers, going after other gods, serving them and bowing down to them" (Jdg. 2:19). The people were so easily corrupted! And then I realize... the people is me. I am so easily corrupted and led astray and quick to turn to other gods.
I think that idolatry is such an interesting concept to read about in today's context. Their idolatry is so quickly noticed and it's easy to point fingers and look down at them for their sin. But the Lord has been gently reminding and revealing to me how I am the same way -- astonishingly quick to worship the created over the Creator. And the truth is that we live in a world that is the enemy's playground. And just like in my family, I think that he is seeking after division in the family, in the home. It might be over the silliest or strangest of reasons, but if it keeps us from becoming more like Jesus together, then isn't that still his success?
I truly wonder what it would have been like to observe the Israelites in the time of Judges. Was it as quick as them hearing of the death of Ehud or Othniel and them going to grab their box of idols in the garage? Was it as simple as their first back to worship without the judge and they decide to sleep through their alarm? This may be taking a lot of liberties but I don't think that it was a huge shift immediately every time. I think it may have been in the subtle and slow moments, the attitudes and the avoiding that led to their sin. The repeated phrase of Judges is that "each of them did what was right in their own eyes." For a people group who God chose and unified, that sounds awfully solitary and individual. I wonder if the 2021 version would be "you do you."
This year has been hard. Not only is the world more divisive and angry and hurtful and scary than ever, but most of you are having to also field the questions and thoughts and fears of your little ones in the midst of it. I imagine that a time of rest feels like a distant memory. And now here we are asking you to take on a new, or adjusted, job of discipling your kids every week at home. I don't know for sure, but I would feel overwhelmed.
I heard someone say one time that maybe when Paul says that Christ is made perfect in our weakness, it's not our weakness in the way that we tend to think of it. Maybe it means more in our lack--
Our not-enough-ness perfects His enough-ness.
So that is my prayer for each of you. That as we are potentially entering into a new season of church and discipleship, that you would embrace the weight and know that you have the power to lead the people to righteousness or the family in avoiding bible study (*cough my sister cough*). And that when you are not enough, that's God's favorite place for you.
One of my favorite songs right now says "You were my portion when there wasn't enough."
Maybe this is the season we get to learn that lesson more deeply.
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Hi there! My name is Alicia and I am the Children's ministry intern. I'm currently studying biblical counseling at Dallas Theological Seminary and I am so passionate about helping to bridge the gap between theology and psychology! I love writing and tend to think in pictures and I'm praying that this can be a space where you can find grace and experience Jesus and feel less alone. Much love!! Xoxo, Alicia