God’s Story has focused on leaders over the past couple of weeks. The Israelites were led by a group of people referred to as ‘Judges’ between 1350 and 1020 BC. During this time God was calling His people to be His presence amongst the nations, exhibiting His truth and love, which stood in stark contrast to the practices and customs of those about them. Unfortunately, the Israelites regularly failed in their task. As they turned away from God and His ways of truth and love they would be overrun by the Canaanites or Midianites and eventually, the Philistines. This would lead them to recognise their sin and ultimately, in despair they would turn back to God and He would deliver them out of the hands of their enemies. This cycle is recorded 12 times in the book of Judges – the seventh book of the Bible.
Our School Captains explored this in the Our Story chapel in Week 2 and connected it together really well with God’s Story as He brought deliverance into the lives of the Israelites. The Captains did this through exploring the question ‘What do you do when caught in a negative cycle’. They arrived at the realisation that it is so beneficial to reach out to other people for help when ‘caught’ in bad habits. The fact that a ‘change of heart’, not just external actions is what is needed for lasting change in our lives, was also highlighted. This led beautifully into how our loving God is in the business of changing hearts and as we share our lives with Him, He can deliver us out of cycles of destructive behaviour to a place of hope and peace. This is encapsulated in the words of Psalm 51 - “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me… Grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”
Our God orchestrates this deep within us as we share our life with Him. It is a great blessing to us personally and to those around us as He works change within us from the ‘inside out’.
As the Israelites struggled in the period of ‘the Judges’ they demanded God would give them a King. This came to be in 1020 BC when King Saul was appointed ruler of their nation. He was closely followed by the amazing fellow – David and then Solomon. These men were somewhat successful in leading the Israelites, but in the end, their leadership did little more than point towards the need of an ultimate leader and this was fulfilled in Jesus 1000 years later. God’s Story in the Bible continues on pointing to this truth and we will continue to investigate this through the remainder of Term 2.