Amazing Grace

This week we looked at the period of history called Judges in the epic story of the Bible.  It never ceases to amaze me how easy it is to forget how God has helped us is in the past.  The story of Exodus is told and retold throughout the Bible.  After the Patriarchs and the formation of a young nation in Egypt and now led into the Promised Land, a period of time passed where the people of Israel fell into cycles of forgetting God, getting themselves into trouble and God sending a judge to help them get out.  But invariably once the judge died, the people forgot and fell into the cycle again. Deborah, Gideon and Sampson were three of those judges, each with flaws but each choosing to obey.  Yesterday we looked at an outsider, Ruth, who joined the line of heroes.  It is amazing that God repeatedly comes to the rescue of his wayward people, not because they are good but because he is good and determined to bless that nation and all nations through them.

         As we end the week, it makes me think of one of the most favorite hymns, Amazing Grace, written by John Newton.  At age 11 he began the life of a hardened sailor and eventually was immersed in slave trade.  A fierce storm at sea put fear in his heart and he began to read Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis.  God used John and Charles Wesley and George Whitefield, famous preachers then to help change this slave trader into an Anglican pastor.  Newton introduced simple heartfelt hymns into the church.  Newton knew there was no person beyond God’s grace and that even evil slave traders could be redeemed.  Judges tells stories of Gods continual attempts to reach out and rescue his people when they call out to him in despair.  He sees, he hears and he cares.

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