There is a saying that you are probably familiar with: repeating the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. When it comes to practice, that isn’t the case. When it comes to many other things in life, though, it is very true.
In manufacturing (where I work for pay), there is an expectation that we will always strive for continuous improvement. Continuing the same process, material size, tooling size, program configuration will not result in improvements after the first few runs. It is only when one analyzes and changes things there are improvements (and plenty of failures, too).
The Israelites, post-Joshua, were not continuously improving their relationship with God. They were a wrecking crew. God’s grace, however, was significant.
When things were really bad, God would send a judge. Just as when Joshua was alive, they would be “good” God-followers (somewhat)…until that judge died. The process repeated itself, again and again. Sounds a bit like insanity.
God changed it up. He let them succumb to the external forces (and internal ones, too). He wasn’t done with them. He just let them be free.
Then God called Samuel. Samuel was, in many respects, the next judge. However, his was definitely a different kind. There really wasn’t a military side to Samuel.
This time, the people might have learned something. They seemed to understand that they needed someone. With Samuel’s death, they would be right back to where they were.
God was mad (and hurt). Yet, God used this tiny turn in the hearts of Israelites, to bring, ultimately, the line of David into preeminence. From that line of David, Jesus the Savior came.
Have you ever had a big struggle trying to solve a problem or meet a goal, and continued to fight it? And, then, taken a pause (even a nap!) and the solution came?
The rudder of a ship is small in comparison to the ship. Yet, this small thing guides the ship’s direction. What small thing, that seemed so small in comparison to the big things, changed your life completely? If you can’t think of anything, pray to God for a revelation (it’s amazing what that little prayer can do).
Is there anything in your life right now that seems to be on an endless loop that’s driving you crazy? Have you asked God for clarity/wisdom in the situation? Have you sought wise and/or different council to move forward?
God, you have done big and small miracles in our lives, whether we see them or not. Even some of the smallest have changed our lives. Help us to be responsive to your nudge to be the agents of change in the lives of others. Amen.