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Judges 1





Today we obviously start a new book. I decided to head back into the Old Testament and pick up on a little of the history of the nation of Israel.  Although there are some high points and great victories throughout this book, it really doesn’t present a good picture of the nation of Israel.  In fact, it presents a picture of them gradually getting further away from God and further into trouble.

One of the ways you can read this book it to look for the circular pattern that dominates the chapters. At the top of the circle, you will find Israel doing pretty good.  After a bit of success and peace from their enemies, they start to slide down into idolatry.  Because of their unwillingness to repent, God will send in a foreign nation to conquer Israel.  After living under that nation for awhile, Israel will begin to cry out to God.  It is at this point that we have reached the bottom of the circle and started back up.  God will send in a deliverer or judge who will be victorious over the invading nation.  The people of Israel will be back on top in a time of peace and prosperity.  After a bit of that they start to slide down into idolatry again.  And the whole process repeats itself.

In fact, as I have already said, this circular pattern is repeated ad nauseum throughout the book.  However, each time the circle is completed the whole process goes down a little more, further away from God and further away from the way He designed life to be lived.  When we finally get to the end of the book, we will read some of the saddest words in the Bible.  We read at the end of chapter 21: “In those days there was no king in Israel.  Everyone did what was right in his own eyes”.  In other words, they had completely rejected God. 

With that as an overview, I’ll take you back to chapter one.  Chapter one is a quick history of how the different tribes of Israel responded to the remaining Canaanites that were left in the Promised Land.  What we discover is that some of the tribes like Judah did a great job of clearing out the bad guys.  Other tribes of Israel just left the remaining Canaanites in place.  Suffice it to say at this point, that was not a good idea.

Many years ago before farmers started using satellites to direct the planting of crops in those big circles, most farmers planted in squares or rectangles.  There were several steps they would go through to prepare the ground for planting.  But one of the things that had to happen was they had to plow out the corners. 

Because the tractor and implement couldn’t make a square corner, there were always places in the corners of the field that the farmer had to go back to and intentionally plow out.  Otherwise the field would not have been ready for planting.  Plowing out the corners was one of the last things done but it was a necessary thing.  It was evidence that the job was completed.

As I read through chapter one, I see a bunch of the tribes of Israel that didn’t plow out their corners.  They didn’t finish the task.  They left the bad guys entrenched in the Promised Land.  I am sure at the time it didn’t seem like that big of deal.  After all there were more Hebrews than Canaanites.  After all the Canaanites could be enslaved to work for Israel.  After all… After all.

What we will discover is that the Israelites committed a horrible mistake (In fact, it was a sin because they didn’t obey God.) by leaving those Canaanites there.  I’m sure it was easier to do that.  It just wasn’t better.

As Christ followers, we always have to be careful to plow out our own corners.  To get the entire field ready to plant.  To completely finish the task in front of us.  Until we plow out our corners we are not ready for what God wants to produce in us.

Posted by Joe Ligon with





Obviously this is not a daily devotion.  But it is nevertheless important. 

We have been doing these daily devotions for over one year now.  During the course of this year, I want to believe this has been important.  On one hand, it has been beneficial to me.  It changed my study time and personal devotion time.  As crazy as it may seem, I actually do study the chapters before I write about them.  On the other hand, I hope it has been at least somewhat beneficial to some of you.  Periodically, I do get some feedback.  And the feedback I have received has been basically positive.

Because the program we use to distribute these devotions has some pretty good analytics, it is obvious to us that fewer people are accessing these devotions.  Although I never intended this to be a numbers game, I have wondered if these daily devotions are continuing to have the impact that they perhaps once did.

Please understand that I am not writing this as a backhanded way to get your compliments.  But I am curious whether or not I need to continue these.  If they are helpful, then perhaps it would be worthwhile to continue them.  If they are not helpful, then it would be a waste of time to continue them.

The only way I know to really answer that question is to ask you guys that are on our mailing list for these daily devotions.  If you could send me an email at with your opinion, I would greatly appreciate hearing from you.  Please know that if you don’t see any value in continuing these, my feelings will not be hurt.  I promise I will not take your response personally.  I just need some honest feedback from the folks that, at some point, have opted into this process. 

As a result of waiting on responses to this impromptu and unscientific survey, I will not be writing devotions for the next couple of days.  So, please do not hesitate to contact me with your honest opinion of the value of these efforts.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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