“And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord after Ehud died.”
This is one of the constant refrains that we see throughout the book of Judges. God’s people will sin, God will raise up a judge to help deliver them, and then they will fall back into sin again, and again, and again. It’s the picture of sinfulness in the heart of men and women. We are so prone to wander to our own ways instead of God’s ways, and left to ourselves, we wander into foolishness, into sin and evil, that which is not good for us, that which is not good for others. We need the grace of God at every moment.
We deserve judgment, but Jesus has taken this judgment upon Himself. Through Christ’s work we have everlasting life.
And the reason this verse sticks out to me, especially on this day, is because of Good Friday, and all that it represents. The good news of the Bible, the greatest news in all the world, is that God has not left us alone in our sinfulness. God has not left us alone in our tendency to wander into our own ways, that are not good for us, and not good for others. God has come to us. Not only has he come to us in the person of Jesus, but he has paid the price for all of our sin against him. This is the Gospel. This is the grace of God. Again, it’s the greatest news in all of the world. Despite all of our evil in our hearts, our rebellion against God, God has made a way for us to be forgiven of our sin and free from its penalty and power.
Think about it. Why is Good Friday so good? It is good because Jesus took the payment due you, and me, and our sin upon himself. All of our rebellion against God, that we deserve just judgment for, he took upon himself on the cross, so that we could be forgiven. John 3:16, “God so loved the world,” God so loved you, and me, “that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him will not perish, but will have everlasting life.”
So we pray on this Good Friday, thank you oh God. We confess our sinfulness before you, our tendency to wander. Even as followers of Jesus, we are still prone to turn to our own ways instead of your ways and your word, to trust in our own ways over your word. God, we confess our need for your grace at every moment in our lives, and God, we praise you for your provision of that grace, at every moment in our lives, and ultimately in what happened a couple of thousand years ago, when Jesus took the payment we deserve in our sin upon himself. Jesus, we praise you. We exalt you for taking all of our sin upon yourself, for making a way for us to be forgiven and reconciled to God. Despite our sin and rebellion, here we are right now, praying to you, in communion with you, walking with you, confident that we have eternal life, that when we die, we will spend eternity with you in Heaven.
All glory be to your name, for your grace, for this Gospel, the greatest news in all the world. We worship you today for it, and we pray. We pray that you help us to spread it today. God, we pray that on this Good Friday, as Easter weekend is happening, we have opportunities to share the Gospel. Please, give us boldness to share the Gospel today, with coworkers, with friends, with neighbors, to invite somebody to worship on Sunday, where the Gospel, pray, will be clearly proclaimed in our churches. God, we pray for the spread of the Gospel through us today, that other people might know your grace.
God, we pray for that here. We pray for that around the world. We pray for the Tuareg in Niger. We’ve got a million of them who have little to no knowledge of this Gospel, who don’t know about what Jesus has done for them. Hardly any Christians, among those million people in Niger, as a part of this people group. God, we pray for the spread of the Gospel to them. Send laborers to make this good news known among them and thousands of other people groups in the world that don’t know what Good Friday means, that don’t know how good and gracious you are. God, please cause the Gospel to go to them. Use our lives, our churches, toward that end, right where we live, this weekend, and around the world, however you lead us. God, we praise you for this Gospel. We rest in it today, and we pray that you would use us to make it known to others. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
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