Heroes of Faith, Volume 3

Summer is a time where there are many opportunities for us to enjoy the outdoors, embrace our children, and embark on a road trip or vacation. To some degree we all scatter in summertime. Sandi and I began this season with some traveling of our own. It was refreshing. We even shared pictures and stories. Several of our Facebook friends said they felt like they were on the trip with us as we shared. When you venture out into new places, it’s not just where you go, but who you share the journey with that makes the difference.
 
This summer, we begin Volume Three of our Grow Deep “Heroes” series. I encourage you to take it with you. Don’t take a vacation from reading and reflecting on scripture—take your Bible on the road! Talk about what you read and learn from the Lord. Take time to sit down with a friend over one of these readings.
 
The Heroes you will meet this summer (except for week one) are from the time of the judges. This was to be a time of great promise. Israel had grown from a nation escaping slavery under Egypt to a formidable military power under Joshua’s campaigns to claim Palestine. God’s promise of this homeland, a promise made centuries before to Abraham, now seems in sight. As you will see, however, the story doesn’t turn out so fair. In the years that follow, Israel scatters rather than pulls together. Here’s just one description of what repeatedly happened in those days:
 
“The Israelites left that place and went home to their tribes and clans, each to his own inheritance. In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.”
--Judges 21:24-25
 
The people turned inward. They were self-absorbed with their inheritance. The community no longer worshipped together. Their decisions were no longer informed by the Word of God. They scattered. Their enemies saw their vulnerabilities and pounced on them. God, however, didn’t turn away. He raised up judges in various regions where they were scattered to deliver them from their enemies and return their hearts to the Lord. Many of the judges had weaknesses themselves. They didn’t always act like heroes. What makes them heroes was God’s choice to use them to bring the scattered home.
 
We may scatter in summertime, but we don’t have to fall into the same traps of these people. Wherever your journey takes you, keep worshipping the Lord and keep seeking His Word. This summertime can be just the change you need to reconnect with the Lord and with His people. The season may offer occasions for couples to share these devotions together. It is a time ripe with opportunities to bless and share Jesus with children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. That’s why we’ve included special family segments throughout the series. It’s also a time to pray with and renew friendships, where perhaps the busyness of the other seasons pulled you away.

As you read and reflect on the judges, may they lead you to the One who brings us together: Jesus! Scattered, the enemy will surely pounce, but together, we are made complete.
 
“These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” --Hebrews 11:39-40
 
Grow Deep… Live a Heroic Life!
Pastor Bill Geis
June 2017