John D. Barry
Judges 1:1–2:10; Philippians 1:1–11; Psalm 61:1–62:12
“Who will go up first for us against the Canaanites to fight against them?” (Judg 1:1).
I’ve felt this way before—wondering who will be my advocate in my time of need. It’s ironic that we are surrounded by people, and we have constant access to communication, and yet we can still feel alone. In a world of ambient noise, we’re often left feeling that no one is there to come to our aid. Most of us do have people to help us; it’s just that we’re not willing to ask for help. At all times, we have someone who will be our guide in times of distress.
Paul tells us that it is Christ “who began a good work in you [and He] will finish it until the day [He returns]” (Phil 1:6). In essence, the story of Paul and the Philippian believers’ struggles is really the same story told in the book of Judges. God’s people are at war against powers seen and unseen (Phil 3:1–4; compare Col 1:16). They feel lonely and wounded, but when they search their hearts, they see that God really is rising up to defend them. In Judges, He sends His people great advocates who go out before them in battle. In Philippians, we see Paul telling his story to a church in need of a leader so they can look to his example (e.g., Phil 1:12–25; 3:1–21). We also see Paul, time and time again, point to the greatest example: Christ (e.g., Phil 1:9–11).
In the humility of his situation, Paul sees God at work (Phil 2). When God’s people found themselves in dire circumstances, being opposed by outside forces, they saw God come to their aid (e.g., Judg 4). Christ is our advocate before God the Father, and He is our guide in this life, which can often be confusing and disheartening. God’s faithfulness in guiding and loving His people remains the same today as yesterday, but now we see an even greater manifestation of that love in Jesus.
What humbling situation are you going through? How can you hand it over to God and trust in His providence?
This article was originally posted in Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan.