Again: adverb;(1) once more, another time, anew, in addition. (2) in an additional case or instance, moreover, besides, furthermore.
Example: Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, now that Ehud was dead.
The book of Judges is not a pleasant read. It's filled with violence, arrogance, and massive amounts of stupidity. To contrast the condition of the human heart, there are also moments of grace, mercy, compassion, and deliverance from God that make you tilt your head in awe and wonder about the depths of His love. Love that is boundless. Love that didn't spare His Son. Love for you and me.
The first sentence of Chapter 4 sums up so much of our lives. We could easily substitute our names for the Israelites and have it read like this: Again, Bob did evil in the eyes of the Lord. Again, Gloria did evil in the eyes of the Lord. Again, Jenn did evil in the eyes of the Lord.
The thing we must wrestle with though is what defines evil.
It's easy to see the fruit of evil. What happens as a result of evil. But what truly defines it is significantly more in depth ~ and something I am not capable of explaining adequately. But as only God can orchestrate, I was recently privelaged to hear a talk about what evil is, in its purest, deadliest state. I listened intently with the hope of understanding this complex subject. What I didn't expect was to see the reality of it in my own life to the degree it exists.
We think of evil by the magnitude of its impact and we neglect to see that even the most horrendous acts have the same root of evil as the ones we commit ourselves. The only difference between them, the fruit. Some fruit is bigger than others but the amount of destruction ~ lasting impact on others and those that come after us ~ can be just as devastating.
So, I challenge you, find some time to sit down and listen to what I heard. Find the areas of your life where your name can be inserted into the statement "Again ______________ did evil in the eyes of the Lord." And then accept the truth that God loves you despite your bad decisions, that He wants to give you a new heart and a new Spirit that you can follow hard after Him, and that through the blood of the risen Christ, you are more than an overcomer.
Lord, this is hard. We don't want to see the reality of our hearts and where they stray from You. But we also know that You love us entirely too much to leave us where we are. I pray that everyone who chooses to understand the extent of their brokenness is blessed by a restoration that reveals Your glory and shines a light in their heart so bright that others come to see You in them. Grow in us a desire to find our joy in You alone. In Jesus name we pray, amen.