Ordinary Life

Judges 12:8-11

8After him, Ibzan of Bethlehem led Israel. 9He had thirty sons and thirty daughters. He gave his daughters away in marriage to those outside his clan, and for his sons he brought in thirty young women as wives from outside his clan. Ibzan led Israel seven years. 10Then Ibzan died and was buried in Bethlehem.

11After him, Elon the Zebulunite led Israel ten years. 12Then Elon died and was buried in Aijalon in the land of Zebulun.

13After him, Abdon son of Hillel, from Pirathon, led Israel. 14He had forty sons and thirty grandsons, who rode on seventy donkeys. He led Israel eight years. 15Then Abdon son of Hillel died and was buried at Pirathon in Ephraim, in the hill country of the Amalekites.

Introduction

A story was told about a family who decided to live in fancy neighborhood. The parents would tell everyone in the family to use the washroom on schedule and flush the toilet after everyone had their necessities. That was tough strategy to minimize their water bill and be consciously responsible member of the family.

Some people may sacrifice convenience for the sake of pride of living in a luxurious lifestyle. Some people choose simple and ordinary life. Things will be missed or sacrificed, and that depends upon a person’s choice of lifestyle.

If you can dictate your life, what do you choose—dramatic or ordinary life?

Previously, we studied the dramatic and action-packed life of Jephthah. He was rejected by his half–brothers but God empowered him and saved Israel.

It must have been tough years for the Israelites to swallow their pride and accepted that the very person they rejected was God’s instrument to save them.

It reminds us in 1 Peter 2:6-8, 6“See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” 7Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” 8and, “A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.

Jephthah was a picture of Jesus Christ. Jephthah was rejected but saved Israel from their enemies when they trusted him as their leader. Similarly, Christ was crucified by those who rejected Him. Unconsciously, we reject Him also when we sin. But by faith, we trust Him as Lord and Savior, and He saved us.

To be rejected by relatives, classmates, or a company you applied for work is a very tough experience. When things happen as opposed to our expectations, it adds to our struggles. Nevertheless, when things don’t come just the way we want it to be, it should remind us that we need help. We need our Lord Jesus.

We wish to have a trouble-free, not-so-dramatic life. It’s ordinary mindset.

When other nations didn’t bother Israel, peace and prosperity prevailed. Their life story was not dramatic. It’s ordinary. Leader or not did not have much concerns except for basic necessities of life like: marriage, burial, or comfort.

1. Marriage

8After him, Ibzan of Bethlehem led Israel. 9He had thirty sons and thirty daughters. He gave his daughters away in marriage to those outside his clan, and for his sons he brought in thirty young women as wives from outside his clan. Ibzan led Israel seven years. 10Then Ibzan died and was buried in Bethlehem.

Ibzan was remembered for the marriage of his 60 children not as leader.

The Israelites had nothing to recall about his 7-year leadership tenure. They talked about his children who did not marry from their own clan. There was no drama about his leadership. It was simply ordinary, not action-packed. Does it mean that he did nothing great? For 7 years, he may have been effective leader.

Would you aspire to have dramatic life or just ordinary like Ibzan’s life?

We may choose to live a simple lifestyle and not remarkable but when we believed and accepted Christ as Lord and Savior, our life will never be ordinary again as we wish to be. Christ makes life more dramatic than we expected.

Ordinary Men

Peter and John were ordinary fishermen. One day, they went to the temple and healed a crippled man in the name of Jesus. And, because of that miracle, they were arrested and jailed. The elders and teachers of the law interrogated them and they were amazed of their confidence. It says in Acts 4:13-14, 13When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 14But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say.

Ordinary or not, when the Lord reigns in a believer’s heart, great things will happen unexpectedly. We do not need to push ourselves trying to be great.

We just need to be prepared for God’s leading but not to disregard basic courtesy. Giving proper burial is dignified act of respect to leaders who died.

2. Burial

11After him, Elon the Zebulunite led Israel ten years. 12Then Elon died and was buried in Aijalon in the land of Zebulun.

Elon was another Israelite leader who didn’t have much dramatic life story. After 10 years as leader, he was buried in the territory of Zebulun when he died. As Zebulunite buried in Zebulun, it implies that he was a respected leader. The Israelites did not have much trouble during his leadership tenure.

Trouble-free leadership tenure is a dream of leaders, even church leaders. Do what’s right, live responsibly, retire at good old age, and say, “Life is great!”

Paul challenges us in Ephesians 4:1-3, 1I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 

Peaceful lifestyle! What else can you ask for? Having peace in our midst can be the best life we can dream of. We may not be able to control peace in our community but we can pray for our government. The Lord wants us to have peace and prosperity, and we can do our part by praying for our city.

We may respond to the Lord’s instruction in Jeremiah 29:7, Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.

As election for city officials is coming near, we pray that God would give wisdom to government officials that they may become His instrument to make our nation prosper. It’s not only for us but for everyone to experience comfort.

If God allows it to happen, it’s common desire to seek a comfortable life.

3. Comfort

13After him, Abdon son of Hillel, from Pirathon, led Israel. 14He had forty sons and thirty grandsons, who rode on seventy donkeys. He led Israel eight years. 15Then Abdon son of Hillel died and was buried at Pirathon in Ephraim, in the hill country of the Amalekites.

Aside for being known of having 40 sons and 30 grandsons, Abdon’s was recognized as son of Hillel. His father Hillel may have been a well-known person in his time that’s why Abdon was introduced together with his father Hillel. Furthermore, his 40 sons and 30 grandsons were privileged to ride on donkeys.

Riding on a donkey suggests that Abdon’s sons and grandsons had lived a comfortable life as compared to the rest of the citizens. He may have inherited his wealth from his father Hillel. Like Ibzan and Elon, Abdon led Israel, buried after he died, and there was no dramatic feature of his leadership tenure also.

While many are envious when others talk about comfortable lifestyle, it is not guaranteed that they have no struggle or no concern at all. As believers, we expect to face some form of challenges even when life becomes comfortable.

The church of Laodicea may have comfortable life because of their material wealth but the Lord warned them in Revelation 3:17-19, 17You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. 19Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.

As we live, work, and do our tasks responsibly, keep in mind that eternal life in heaven is waiting for us. Life on earth will translate to life in eternity. Our focus on earth will determine what we can expect about eternal status.

The Lord Jesus reminds us in Matthew 6:19-21, 19“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

<‘)))>< ltsii/2018 ><(((‘>

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