Be Careful in the Good Years

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

Judges 10:1-5 (NIV)
After 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. He led Israel twenty-three years; then he died, and was buried in Shamir. He was followed by Jair of Gilead, who led Israel twenty-two years. He had thirty sons, who rode thirty donkeys. They controlled thirty towns in Gilead, which to this day are called Havvoth Jair. When Jair died, he was buried in Kamon.

Judges 10:1-5 (MSG)
Tola son of Puah, the son of Dodo, was next after Abimelech. He rose to the occasion to save Israel. He was a man of Issachar. He lived in Shamir in the hill country of Ephraim. He judged Israel for twenty-three years and then died and was buried at Shamir. After him, Jair the Gileadite stepped into leadership. He judged Israel for twenty-two years. He had thirty sons who rode on thirty donkeys and had thirty towns in Gilead. The towns are still called Jair’s Villages. Jair died and was buried in Kamon.
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“After Abimelech died, Tola the son of Puah, the son of Dodo, a man of Issachar, arose to save Israel; and he lived in Shamir, in the hill country of Ephraim. Tola judged Israel for twenty-three years; then he died and was buried in Shamir. After him, Jair the Gileadite arose, and he judged Israel for twenty-two years. He had thirty sons who rode on thirty donkeys, and they had thirty towns in the land of Gilead that are called Havvoth-jair (towns of Jair) to this day. And Jair died and was buried in Kamon.” -AMPLIFIED

After all the trouble causes by Abimelech we find that the people of Israel go into a quiet time. We now find two men rising up to be judge, one consecutively after the other.

First we have Tola, the son of Puah, the son of Dodo who rose up to save the people of Israel. Tola was from the tribe of Issachar. He lived in Shamir which was part of the highlands of Ephraim. We do not have much information about Tola; except that he judged Israel for twenty-three years. He then died and was buried in his hometown of Shamir.

We are then told that Jair followed Tola as judge. Jair led and judged the people for twenty-two years. We are given this little detail about Jair’s family; “Jair had 30 sons who rode on 30 donkeys, and they had 30 towns, which are in the land of Gilead and are still called Havvoth-jair today.” -(VOICE)

Jair’s thirty sons rode on thirty donkeys; which was considered to be an honored ride during this period of time. In fact, the humble donkey was considered the perfect form of transportation for a judge to ride his circuit upon. This would be a good indicator of the wealth, position and reputations of Jair’s sons who led thrifty towns in Gilead. (All of this is a good clue to us that Jair was a godly man who raised godly sons.)We are told that those towns that the thirty sons judged were still called Jair’s Villages still at this point of the writing of the book of Judges.

“Godly men in positions of responsibility, within our communities, can have a real and positive influence for good and in restraining evil. It is right that through the mechanisms of a democratic society godly men and women should seek to influence popular thinking and legislative decision making to bring our society more in line with Scripture.” -Precept Austin

Nowhere in these first five verses of Judges 10 does it say that the people did what was evil in the eyes of the Lord. Nowhere does it say that they served the Baals or any other false gods; so we can assume that those forty-five years the people were at least trying to please God. After that forty-five years things went quickly downhill.

A generation during Biblical times was anywhere between 40-70 years. This should help us realize something; everyone who had been alive during the time of Gideon and the reign of terror of Abimelech’s time had passed. The folk who had been alive during that period of time had passed and there was no one else alive to give testimony to what God had personally done for the people.

Because of that fact we will see in verse 6 that things swing to the left very quickly. Scripture tells us, “Then the Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord; they served the Baals, the Ashtaroth (female deities), the gods of Aram (Syria), the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the Ammonites, and the gods of the Philistines. They abandoned the Lord and did not serve Him.” -(AMP)

We will find that phrase, “…did what was evil in the sight of the Lord” increasing in frequency as we continue our study. The good years were great while they lasted, but the people forgot to teach their children in the ways that they should go. The people had forgotten the Lord; they had abandoned Him. What a sad situation they had allowed themselves to come to.

Abraham Lincoln wrote these words during his presidency as he proclaimed a National Fast Day during the Civil War. He believed that the war was a chastisement from God for the sins of the nation. He wrote:
“We have been the recipients of the choicest blessed bounties of heaven. We have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we HAVE FORGOTTEN GOD.”

Do not forget who it is that we are to serve. God needs to be at the center of our lives; always and forever.

My Prayer:
Lord, lest I forget; remind me always of who you are and where I need to keep you in my life. Please, be the center of my life. In those good times of my life; help me not to forget you. I need you always in my life; during the good times and the bad. May I never turn to any other thing or person for happiness; only to you.

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