Secondary Infections

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, September 10, 2016 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

I recently was praying for someone who neglected a urinary tract infection and had it develop into an infection throughout their body. It reminded me of the passage we are blogging on this week.

Read Judges 8:1-21. As Gideon pursues the remaining Midianites who ran from the battlefield, he encounters people from Succoth and Penuel who refuse to help. Initially, Gideon's reaction to them seems severe. Maybe they were afraid to help, thinking Midian would grow strong again and attack them for helping Gideon. That's reasonable, isn't it? Why would Gideon promise to discipline and kill the men of the cities for refusing to help him?

If we look a little closer, we find out that the city names came from Jacob naming locations where he encountered God. Succoth is the place where Jacob built a booth (a ‘sukkot’) and camped after wrestling with God. Penuel (meaning 'face of God') is nearby, and it is where Jacob was re-named 'Israel' when he encountered God. Succoth is in the tribal lands of Gad, and Penuel was in the tribal lands of Benjamin (Penuel is sometimes referred to as 'of Judah' also). So, what does that mean?

Jacob, the patriarch of Israel, had twelve sons. Among them were Gad, Judah, and Benjamin. It is likely that these cities were in the lands where these sons settled. It is also likely that these people were related or were fully Israelite, and yet denied to help their own people.

They might have been willingly helping Midian and gaining from it. Maybe they just rejected offering aid to their own people because they didn't support the battle or Gideon. Maybe they disagreed with God's command in regard to overthrowing Midian. Whatever their motive, they were at least helping the enemy escape, and at worst they were committing treason.

  If the land was to be rid of Midian and its harsh oppression, then those who sympathized with Midian had to be dealt with as well. Succoth and Penuel were secondary infections in the land, demonstrating just how destructive and divisive the influence of Midian had been. Gideon had to deal with them as a part of what God called him to do.

When we neglect or fail to resist an infection, it can spread to other parts of the body, and corrupt even healthy organs and tissues because the body is already under stress with the first infection. If left alone long enough, simple infections that the body should be able to fight off will oppress enough of the body that it will begin to die.

  So, I ask you to take some serious time to reflect and consider the following two sets of questions:

- For your nation: What is the primary infection that is eroding the health of your society? What are the secondary infections and where are they taking root in the culture? How will you be available to God and begin to attack the infection for the sake of your society (including those infected)? What help do you need to get started, and what is stopping you from getting that help?

- For you personally: Where have you allowed yourself to be ruled by your desires or the tyranny of the urgent? What are the secondary infections forming, and how are they affecting you and those around you? How will you be available to God and begin to attack the infection for the sake of your heart and the hearts and lives of those around you? What help do you need to get started, and what is stopping you from getting that help?

Let this be our prayer in this season: Lord Jesus, help us to see where we are infected and festering in our desires and broken ideologies. Help us to see the infection in and around us. Help us have compassion on those infected. Ready us in your power to fight for the health of our nation. Ready us in your grace and strength to fight for the lives of people all around us, who are saturated with infections we have called ‘normal.’ Purify us, God, and use us to purify and rescue others in every circumstance you make available to us. Turn our nation, as you return our hearts to you.

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