Rise to Save

Judges 10:1-5

1After the time of Abimelek, a man of Issachar named Tola son of Puah, the son of Dodo, rose to save Israel. He lived in Shamir, in the hill country of Ephraim. 2He led Israel twenty-three years; then he died, and was buried in Shamir.
3He was followed by Jair of Gilead, who led Israel twenty-two years. 4He had thirty sons, who rode thirty donkeys. They controlled thirty towns in Gilead, which to this day are called Havvoth Jair. 5When Jair died, he was buried in Kamon.

Introduction

Have you heard that two mayors in the Philippines were killed in the past few days? When there’s problem in the leadership, people usually blame others. When everything is doing great in the leadership, who should take the credit? Is it God’s will when things go wrong in our society? Is it God’s will when things are great?

As believers, we believe that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him. When we internalize this truth and keep in mind always, it will balance our composure during unexpected circumstances.When there’s problem, it is easy to be shaken and do senseless things.The Israelites had been bothered by other nations. And, God raised Judges to lead them focus on the Lord’s saving grace. Let’s learn from Tola and Jair.

1. Tola

1After the time of Abimelek, a man of Issachar named Tola son of Puah, the son of Dodo, rose to save Israel. He lived in Shamir, in the hill country of Ephraim. 2He led Israel twenty-three years; then he died, and was buried in Shamir.

“Tola” means “crimson or purple.” Did he turn red in anger? He was introduced together with his father and grandfather. His grandfather must have been well-known among the residents of Issachar. Tola’s grandfather was named “Dodo” which means “beloved father.” While his father’s name “Puah” means “scattered pieces.”

There’s nothing significant, distinctive or peculiar event about Tola’s leadership except that he saved Israel for 23 years. For him to be remembered as Israel’s Judge, his father and grandfather were mentioned. His grandfather may have been recognized for his ‘love and care’ while his father was remembered by his ‘scattered lifestyle.’

Can interpret that God chooses leaders not because their fathers were great or grandfathers were exemplary? Interestingly, Tola rose to save Israel right after Abimelek died. And, Tola was introduced in the same sentence with Abimelek. Why?
When Tola saved Israel for 23 years, there’s no dramatic event. In comparison, Abimelek did not save Israel from enemies. He initiated confusion in Israel. When he rose to power, there was chaos or disorder. In contrast, when Gideon his father led Israel for 40 years, there was peace in Israel.

Can we conclude from this narrative that when God chooses His leaders, there’s peace and when people force themselves to leadership, there’s no peace and order.

When we pray for elected leaders, does it necessarily result to God’s purposes?

Matthias

It was recorded in Acts 1:20-26, 20“For,” said Peter, “it is written in the Book of Psalms: “‘May his place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in it,’ and, “‘May another take his place of leadership.’ 21Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us, 22beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.”
23So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. 24Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen 25to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.” 26Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.

Matthias was elected to take over the apostle’s office vacated by Judas. But later, the Lord called Saul who changed his name to Paul as Apostle to the Gentiles. Matthias was elected Apostle but in the real sense of Apostleship, which means “the sent one,” Paul was personally called and sent by the Lord to spread of the gospel.

When we accepted Christ as Lord and Savior, He empowers us to testify of what He has done in our life, and lead others to accept Him as their Lord and Savior, too. All believers are leaders, although, God gives specific leadership responsibilities.
The stories of Tola and Jair are proofs that God records leadership involvement.

2. Jair

3He was followed by Jair of Gilead, who led Israel twenty-two years. 4He had thirty sons, who rode thirty donkeys. They controlled thirty towns in Gilead, which to this day are called Havvoth Jair. 5When Jair died, he was buried in Kamon.

Jair” means “enlightener, to brighten.” He was introduced together with his 30 sons who ride on 30 donkeys. So when Israelites talked about “their leader who had 30 sons who rode 30 donkeys,” they will remember the name of Judge Jair.

Riding donkeys is more convenient than travelling a distance on foot, for sure. Accordingly, donkeys in those days are compared to pick-up trucks these days. If Jair provided donkeys for his 30 sons, he belonged to upper class in their society. His 30 sons were also leaders of towns located east of Jordan River. Perhaps, they have acquired their own donkeys while leading their respective towns.

Anyways, both Tola and Jair were Israelite leaders but there were no particular activities added during their leadership tenure except for the length of years they served. Leadership responsibilities are very significant in the society.

SCOTUS

The SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) dominated news headlines when one member decided to retire. Members of SCOTUS are nominated by the current US president. They are instrumental in the lifestyle of US citizens, whether conservative or liberal. When there are more conservative members of the SCOTUS, the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the law would be favorable to conservative society. When there are more liberal members of the SCOTUS, the Supreme Court interpretation of the law of the land would be favorable to liberal society.

There is no single interpretation of the law. There’s liberal or conservative interpretation.

Different interpretation of the law is written in the Bible. When the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus why His disciples did not wash their hands before eating according to the traditions of their elders, the Lord Jesus rebuked them. He said in Mark 7:6-8, 6Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 7They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ 8You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” 9You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!

The Pharisees and the teachers of the law interpret the word of God to favor or suit their lifestyle, and many church attendees interpret the Bible like Pharisees. They align or interpret the Scripture in accordance to their lifestyle.

Our lifestyle should be aligned with the word of God. The word of God should be the basis for our lifestyle instead of interpreting the Scripture to suit our lifestyle. This is one reason we have to be more prayerful in choosing our leaders.
Pray that God would raise more leaders who would submit to the will of God.

The Lord Jesus declared in Luke 16:8, 8For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. The Lord mentioned this verse when He was teaching that people of this world are smart to prepare for their retirement or future. Likewise, it is a smarter move for us to prepare not just for our life on earth but most especially, for our eternal life.

In eternity, there will be no election of leaders. We will not decide for leaders in eternal life. Take note that the Lord Jesus has already declared that responsibilities in eternity will be based on how we handle the responsibilities He gives us on earth.

He said in Luke 16:9-11, 9I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. 10“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?

May the Lord empower us to be more trustworthy in handling responsibilities He allows us to have! May Christ’s Spirit inspire us to focus our lifestyle to eternal life so that we are prepared when Christ comes again anytime, sooner or later!

<‘)))>< ltsii/2018 ><(((‘>

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