Judges 3:12,15, 21, 30, "Once again the Israelites did evil in the Lord's sight, and the Lord gave King Eglon of Moab control over Israel because of their evil. ... But when the people of Israel cried out to the Lord for help, the Lord again raised up a rescuer to save them. ... As King Eglon rose from his seat, Ehud ...pulled out the dagger ... and plunged it into the king's belly. ... So Moab was conquered by Israel that day, and there was peace in the land for eighty years."
How many times have we struggled with a specific temptation yet "once again?" If we have a personal relationship with Jesus, we definitely have definitive lines that we know better than to cross. But it's so easy to give in - whether it's a sin of commission or omission - and we find ourselves giving in that old familiar tug. That is exactly what was happening with the Israelites in today's reading. They allowed what was happening in the world to persuade them to turn from God.
Despite countless warnings to turn from worshiping other gods, they found themselves in a "once again" position, and it came at great cost. God raised up judge after judge to steer them back on track, and they still disobeyed. This angered God, who was testing them and allowed those pagan nations to remain. He was hands-off as the abusive king of Moab took control of Israel.
But here's what's great! God is a God of mercy and grace. He heard His people's cries for help and raised up Ehud, a leader who would rescue His people. God orchestrated a private moment for Ehud to approach King Eglon and plunge a dagger into his belly. After a quiet escape, the Lord led the Israelites to victory over Moab.
God is a God of rescue. Through Christ, our Savior, we've received the ultimate gift of mercy and grace. So, be faithful to God because He is most certainly faithful to you. Don't make that same poor decision yet "once again."
Lord, Thank You for being a God of mercy and grace. You sent Jesus to our rescue. Help me to stay on track and turn from that same temptation once again. I turn back toward You, leaning into Christ's strength to overcome. Amen.