Reading: Judges 2:1-14
“Boys, we’re going to do some digging today,” said Daddy.
Matthew and Michael looked up from their breakfast. Daddy pointed out the kitchen window and said, “That little pecan tree I planted in the spring has finally given up. I’ve tried every kind of fertilizer I could think of, but nothing’s helped. It’s lost all of its leaves and has just about shriveled up to nothing”
Matthew looked out the window, which was just next to their kitchen table. “It’s too bad, Daddy,” he said. “You planted two trees at the same time, and that other one seems to be doing just great.”
“It could be the tree, or it could be the soil,” said Daddy. “Either way, that tree’s not any use to us now. I might get another small one to replace it, or plant one a little farther out, where it might not be so rocky.” Daddy drank the rest of his coffee and sat back in his chair. “Son, do you remember the parable of the fig tree that Jesus told in the book of Luke? He talked about a man who decided to cut down his fig tree because it wasn’t bearing any fruit.”
“I remember that story,” said Michael. “The man’s gardener asked him to wait another year and give the tree another chance. If it didn’t bear fruit the next year, they would cut it down.”
Daddy nodded. “God wants us to have healthy souls that bear fruit for God. Our fruit is the good things we do and the way we show Jesus to others. You remember that the Israelites did not follow God’s law for them. He gave them many chances but finally had to punish them.” Daddy looked out the window again. “It’s a very sad thing to have to cut down a tree. And it makes God sad to punish His children. That’s why He gives us so many warnings, and He waits eagerly for us to repent.”
“I’m going to be like that healthy tree, Daddy,” said Michael. “One that is strong and fruitful for God!”
For Further Study:
- Even when there were many Israelites doing wrong, there were still some who followed after God. He was able to find good judges, prophets, and kings to teach the people. Sometimes it feels like there are just a few people doing right and so many doing wrong. But don’t you know, that’s how it’s always been? How many were saved in the ark? How many came to see baby Jesus when He was born? Read Matthew 7:14; Luke 17:15-18; and Revelation 3:4.
- Do you remember that God was willing to save Sodom and Gomorrah if Abraham could find ten righteous men in it (Genesis 19:32)? If you had lived there, would Abraham tell God about you? Our shining lights are noticed by our Father! Think of all the people in your city that God is giving time to repent. Consider our nation, our government, and other countries in our world. Write down the names of people you know who haven’t obeyed the gospel. Pray for them, and for open doors to teach them.
…I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4