Superheroes and sin ∙
Let your good deeds shine out for all to see so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.- Matthew 5:16
7 The Israelites did evil in the LORD’s sight. They forgot about the LORD their God, and they served the images of Baal and the Asherah poles.
8 Then the LORD burned with anger against Israel, and he turned them over to King Cushan-rishathaim of Aram-naharaim. And the Israelites served Cushan-rishathaim for eight years.
9 But when the people of Israel cried out to the LORD for help, the LORD raised up a rescuer to save them. His name was Othniel, the son of Caleb’s younger brother, Kenaz.
10 The Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he became Israel’s judge. He went to war against King Cushan-rishathaim of Aram, and the LORD gave Othniel victory over him.
11 So there was peace in the land for forty years. Then Othniel, son of Kena,z died.
The ancient world had countless historical and mythological superheroes: Ulysses, Leonidas, Judas Maccabeus, Hercules, Jason, etc. Superheroes brought order and justice to a chaotic world. Modern superheroes originated in the pages of comic books in the late 1930s. Their stories shape our shared mythology. They tap into the wishful hope that no matter how tough things become, the world can be made right again.
The Old Testament had many real superheroes. Many of them are found in the book of Judges: Deborah, Samson, etc.
The Father put a wall of sorts between Israel and its neighbors because they were to be different. Instead of worshiping idols, the Jewish people worshiped the one true God who made the heavens and the earth. The Mosaic law is not a man-made invention, but rather it is a gift from the hands of the Father. Israel alone had the ark of the covenant where God dwelt in His glory.
The Father made it very clear to the Jews that they were not to study “comparative religions” and get interested in the pagan practices of the Canaanites (Deuteronomy 7:1-11). That curiosity is often the first step in a downward spiral toward conformity with the worst pagan practices.
The nation of Israel was meant to be a light amid the darkness of paganism. The Father intended to use them to lead others to faith in Him. What a difference it would have made in subsequent national history if the Jews had won the Canaanites to the Lord instead of the Canaanites winning the Jews to Baal (Wiersbe)!
But alas, Israel wanted to be just like everybody else and fell into disobedience and idolatry. Instead of Jewish people remaining pure and true to their worship of the Father and allowing the Father and His influence to change their neighbors, the gods of their neighbors changed them.
The book of Judges covers a period in ancient Israel’s history between Joshua and the conquest and the beginning of the monarchy and Saul. The book of Judges displays a repeating cycle of sin, judgment, repentance, and deliverance. Repeatedly, the Israelites did evil in the sight of the Lord. The Father, in turn, became angry and gave them over to foreign invaders. The people recognized the evil of their ways, repented, and the Father raised up for them a superhero, a rescuer, a judge.
A period of normality and peace was restored until the next time.
REFLECT & PRAY
The world is a dark and alluring place. Each child of the King battles their own unique cycle of sin. Regrettably, it is part of our fallen condition of living in a fallen world. It is far too easy to succumb. If only the phrase “until the next time” could be expunged from our human experience.
Father encourage my heart and strengthen me to remain steadfast and faithful to You and Your Word.
1 John 2:15-17
15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.
16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.
17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.
We are faced with seemingly overwhelming odds and difficult choices every day. Choose wisely. The Lord Jesus Christ has prayed and is praying for us now.
14 I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.
15 I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one.
16 They do not belong to this world any more than I do.
17 Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth.
“The world competes for the Father’s love (1 John 2:15-17), but the Word of God enables us to enjoy the Father’s love. One of the first steps toward a worldly life is the neglect of the Word of God” (Wiersbe).
In the front of his Bible, D.L. Moody wrote, “This book will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from this book.”