MEMORISE: 2 Corinthians 4:17
For our light affliction, which is but a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
READ: Judges 6:1-10 (KJV)
And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord : and the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years.
 And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel: and because of the Midianites the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and caves, and strong holds.
 And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east, even they came up against them;
 And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come unto Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass.
 For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came as grasshoppers for multitude; for both they and their camels were without number: and they entered into the land to destroy it.
 And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried unto the Lord.
 And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the Lord because of the Midianites,
 That the Lord sent a prophet unto the children of Israel, which said unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage;
 And I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drave them out from before you, and gave you their land;
 And I said unto you, I am the Lord your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but ye have not obeyed my voice.
Afflictions are situations that we typically pray against. Interestingly however, afflictions have their benefits in the life of a person. One of the typical benefits of afflictions is that they draw men back to God, especially when faced with challenges they cannot surmount by themselves. In our Bible reading today, we see the afflictions of the children of Israel at the hands of the Midianites and Amalekites. These two nations attacked Israel successfully from time to time causing them to suffer greatly. These afflictions drew the Israelites back to the God of their fathers, whom they had neglected for strange gods, as we see in Judges 6:7:
And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the Lord because of the Midianites,
God was then able to speak to them through His prophet whom they would not have listened to but for the affliction. The Lord reminded them that He was still their God, far superior to the gods of the Amorites and the gentiles among whom they were living.
One lesson to learn from this fall of Israel is that serving other gods will always bring affliction. Also, the environment in which a person lives or operates could lead to a departure from serving God. Many of the sound doctrines we cherished in the past have been trashed due to globalisation and our contact with the Amorites, Canaanites and Jebusites of the present age. This has led to many ungodly practices among believers. This in turn causes grave afflictions. Sicknesses that were not mentioned among the believers before are now commonplace. For example, where would high blood pressure come from when a believer’s life is full of joy and the peace of God? A believer of old did not compete with the so-called rich people of the world and would seek God’s counsel before engaging in any enterprise. Believers ought to be led by the Holy Spirit on what line of business they should pursue. Failure to do this leads to loss of peace and rest of mind.
The COVID-19 pandemic is also a case in point on how afflictions can draw people to God. All thanks to God as the Church is now retracing her steps to the old rugged way of peace and joy. May the Lord help us, in Jesus’ mighty name.
Father, heal our backsliding as a Church; have mercy on us and send Your salvation, in the mighty name of Jesus.
BIBLE IN ONE YEAR:
Leviticus 27 – Numbers 1
HYMNAL:Hymn 3 – Deeper, deeper in the love of Jesus
1 Deeper, deeper in the love of Jesus
Daily let me go;
Higher, higher in the school of wisdom,
More of grace to know.
Oh, deeper yet, I pray,
And higher ev'ry day,
And wiser, blessed Lord,
In Thy precious, holy word.
2 Deeper, deeper! blessed Holy Spirit,
Take me deeper still,
Till my life is wholly lost in Jesus,
And His perfect will. [Refrain]
3 Deeper, deeper! tho' it cost hard trials,
Deeper let me go!
Rooted in the holy love of Jesus,
Let me fruitful grow. [Refrain]
4 Deeper, higher, ev'ry day in Jesus,
Till all conflict past,
Finds me conqu’ror, and in His own image
Perfected at last. [Refrain]
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