Sometimes when I do a good job, I just don’t get the credit I think I deserve. The hero of our lesson today, Tola, knows a little bit about that. After Abimelech, a really evil ruler died, he was succeeded by Tola. If all you looked at was how much Scripture real estate is used on each, you might think Abimelech was wonderful. For context, Abimelech gets 56 verses and 1,441 words going into great detail about all of the terrible things he did. Compare that to Tola, who received two verses totaling a mere 46 words. Abimelech tormented the country for just three years and Tola “saved Israel” and led them for twenty-three years. Thankfully, his (and our reward) is not here but in Heaven!
Judges 10:1-2 - After the time of Abimelech, a man of Issachar named Tola son of Puah, the son of Dodo, rose to save Israel. He lived in Shamir, in the hill country of Ephraim. He led Israel twenty-three years; then he died and was buried in Shamir.
Things to think about:
· If I empty the dishwasher or pick up the disaster after our grandkids go back home, you can be sure I want to get some praise for it. In fact, if my wife doesn’t step up to the plate in a timely enough fashion and with the proper level of adulation, you can be sure she’s going to hear about it.
o OK, let’s be honest – do you sometimes feel you get the shaft for getting recognized when you do something you’re proud of?
o And, if I don’t get the credit I think I’m due, I’m more than happy to fill the void
§ Proverbs 27:2 - Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips.
· So, who are we trying to please, men or God?
o Galatians 1:10 - Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
o What can drive us to feel the need for human approval?
§ Pride, insecurity, acceptance
· When we do take matters into our own hands, it completely negates whatever eternal reward we may have had coming our way.
o Matthew 6:1-4 - “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So, when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
· Our time will come, it’s just not now
o 1 Peter 5:6 - Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you
o I’ll bet Tola is one happy guy in Heaven!
· And when our time comes, it will be for eternity
o Daniel 12:3 – (The archangel Michael speaking) - Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.
Next time you’re tempted to toot your own horn, remember God wants to give you so much more than fleeting recognition here.
2:9 - “What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”—the things God has prepared for those who love Him