When was the last time you blew your first chance with a person or some project? You know what I mean. When was the last time you were praying for a second chance? You knew that you didn’t deserve it, but deep down you needed just one more try to redeem yourself. When was the last time you craved for just one more chance?
This article is about the deep longings of the tribe of Asher during the period of the Judges; longings for a second chance.
In Judges 5, following the lopsided victory over Jabin, king of Canaan, and his commander, Sisera, Deborah wrote a lengthy song celebrating Jehovah’s greatness. In that song, verses 13-18, not only did Deborah brag on the tribes who performed bravely, but she also pointed out the tribes who failed: Reuben couldn’t make up their mind whether to fight or not; Gilead/Gad stayed home east of the Jordan (figuring it wasn’t their fight), Dan remained home protecting their personal ships and Asher did likewise, protecting their coastal interests. Every time the song of Deborah was sung, those 4 tribes were shamed.
Approximately 40-50 years later, Gideon was commanded to assemble an army to fight the Midianites and Amalekites. He sent messengers to Manasseh, Zebulun, Naphtali and Asher. Manasseh, Zebulun and Naphtali had all fought bravely in the time of Deborah, so it made perfect sense to seek their help in the upcoming battle. However, Asher had stayed home, thinking only of themselves and refusing to fight. Why send word to these cowards and seek their fighting help?
In Judges 6:34, the verse before Gideon sent word to come and fight, this is recorded: “Then the Spirit of the LORD came on Gideon.”
I believe that it was the Spirit of the LORD who led Gideon to give Asher a second chance, an opportunity to redeem their reputation.
When all was said and done, Gideon ended up with 32,000 fighting men. We don’t actually know how many were from Asher, but none of the 4 tribes are condemned. Some portion of that 32,000 were Asherites. Then God told Gideon to tell all who were afraid to go home. 22,000 went home. Again we don’t know how many were Asherites. But we do know this: 22,000 men who were trembling and afraid showed up to fight in spite of their fear. Any who were Asherites redeemed their reputation just by showing up that day.
When God trimmed Gideon’s army down further, to only 300 fighting men, again we have no idea how many were Asherites. But any who were, had fully redeemed their personal reputation and at least in part, the reputation of the entire tribe of Asher.
Asher needed a second chance, an opportunity to do better and overcome their past failure. Through the Spirit of the LORD and Gideon, they got it.
Do you need a second chance to erase a past failure? Ask the LORD to use His Spirit to supply that opportunity. Then ask the LORD to send you your Gideon to open that door. Then GO! Even if you are afraid, GO! Leave the rest to God.
The shame of that past failure will then be gone, so will the guilt. The air you breathe will suddenly be fresh and clean. You will be at peace, content in the LORD.
Mike Sublett is a pastor at Hi-Land Christian Church, 1615 N. Banks St., Pampa, Texas 79065. Email him at email@example.com.
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