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Who is your Simeon?

After the death of Joshua, the people of Israel enquired of the Lord, “Who shall go up first for us against the Canaanites, to fight against them?” The Lord said, “Judah shall go up; behold, I have given the land into his hand.” And Judah said to Simeon his brother, “Come up with me into the territory allotted to me, that we may fight against the Canaanites. And I likewise will go with you into the territory allotted to you.” So Simeon went with him. Then Judah went up and the Lord gave the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand, and they defeated 10,000 of them at Bezek. 
JUDGES 1:1-3

At start of the book of Judges we meet the nation of Israel facing a leadership crisis. Joshua their greater leader after Moses has died. This is a huge problem of course because even though the they have managed to break the back of the Canaanite resistance they not done enough to fully possess the land. The enemy is weakened but they now need to go in and do the dirty work of fully possessing it.

With the leader now dead, the nation has a burning question for God to answer - who will fight for us? Seeking God is always good place to start in any time of crisis because God answers the prayers of His people. In this case, God answers with amazing clarity. In effect God says to them, "glad you asked, I have a plan, Judah will lead! But don’t worry, I have already given you victory. Joshua is dead, but I am not. I will lead you". What a gracious God! 

Many of us find ourselves facing Joshua situations in our lives, uncertain situations, and we need to hear God’s reassuring voice that He is with us! Perhaps your Joshua situation is the health that you have always depend on. Now it is deteriorating and you find yourselves asking, what sort of future will I have this year? Perhaps your Joshua situation is the lack of leadership at your workplace. You are facing touch decisions at work and it feels like you are all on your own with little support from those around you. The good news of Judges is that if you belong to God, He is with you. He is saying, I will lead you. Take your situation to Him, let God lead you through it! The God of the Bible is a living God! He is a God who answers prayers. So talk to him. 

That's the good news, the bad news is that we don't take God at His word. When God says I will give Judah victory, we expect Judah to start celebrating and thanking God for the guaranteed victory. But look what Judah does next. Judah hears from God and in the same breath strikes an insurance policy with Simeon just to make sure! Judah is probably looking at the intelligence reports and thinking to itself, “we need an insurance policy, just in case we did not hear God properly ”. 

Sadly, we are all like Judah. We like to add to God’s instructions. Simple trust in God frightens us. So, what we do is to turn to the Simeon in our life. The Bible tells us that the tribes of Judah and Simeon are blood brothers because Leah gave birth to the two tribes. So what Judah is in fact doing is trusting an established relationship rather than God! So here is the question: who is the Simeon in your life? What is that thing in your life that you are trusting more to get you through life than God? What is your insurance policy of success in life?

For many of us Simeon is our job! Whenever God tells you to do something, the first thing you think of, is this going to fit in with my job? May be your Simeon is your family. You have come to believe that family comes first rather than God. God wants us to care for our family but he doesn't want them  to become our idols or primary source of strength. He wants us to thirst for Him and depend on Him alone. For others Simeon is public reputation. We have come depend on our Facebook and Twitter reputation to get us through life. 

God wants all His children to obey him without additions or subtractions. It is not that God needs our obedience to act. God will always do what pleases Him. That may include giving us victory, as He does with Judah. Judah and Simeon have abandoned God, but he has not abandoned them! The God of Israel is a God of grace. He does not treat us our sins deserve! Indeed, God leads His people, even though His people do not always follow Him.

This is a sobering truth because many of us are tempted to think the blessings God has given us are as a result of our obedience. But here we see that we must never take our blessings as a seal of approval.
God’s blessings should make us search and weep at the same time because there are many areas of our life together were we rely on our Simeon rather than the grace of God demonstrated to us in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Copyright © Chola Mukanga 2017

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