Right In Their Own Eyes
Today’s Passage – Judges 20 – 21 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
(Second Milers also read – Revelation 4 – 6; Proverbs 27; Psalms 131 – 135)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 89:1
Read the “0327 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” – (Judges 21:25)
“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.” (Proverbs 12:15)
I hope that you are taking the time to carefully read these chapters in the Book of Judges. If you have, then you have noticed that there certainly is a lot of wierd stuff going on here in these passages; and you may be wondering if God is putting His stamp of approval on all that was happening. He certainly is not. The Bible here is merely recording honestly the condition of God’s people as they really were in this time period. They have certainly gone a long way away from the will of God. The concluding verse (above) to the Book of Judges seems to sum it all up: “every man did that which was right in his own eyes”. They could have sang the Frank Sinatra song, “I Did It My Way”. There was no earthly king, but the real problem was that they stopped submitting to the kingship of God. Israel was in a mess morally, and they had forsaken the system of worship that God had instituted for them as they wandered in the wilderness.
We can see this same problem in our country today. Our nation used to instill Biblical principles into the lives of her citizens. A lost heathen of 100 years ago knew more about the Bible, and could quote more verses than the average Christian can today. We are a Bible illiterate society, and the dearth of the Word of God is manifesting itself in every area of our society. We are in a mess here in America. We call “right” wrong, and “wrong” right. We tolerate, condone, and even support the vilest immorality imaginable; and it is getting worse by the day. As a nation, we know precious little about the Person of God, let alone the Principles of His Word. We need to have an awakening like the children of Israel had in these chapters in the Book of Judges. Maybe God will have to shake our world a little bit more in judgment in order to get us to wake up.
I hate to say this, but the problem is also huge within our fundamental churches. It amazes me that people will come to church; listen to the Word of God as it is preached, and sometimes even nod their heads or say “Amen” in agreement; and then go out into their lives, and do the opposite of what God just instructed. And the crazy thing is, they don’t even realize that they are doing it. We need to wake up. We need God to shake us back into an awareness of our utter dependence upon Him. We need to follow the Word of God wholly, and allow the Spirit of God to guide us into all truth.
The nation of Israel entered into the land of Canaan with full intention to live according to the will of God for the rest of their existence. If you were to somehow show them how far away they would get, they would think it absurd; but slowly, and very gradually they moved further and further away from the truth. Christians, we are doing the same thing; and it is happening so gradually that we do not even notice it. Let’s get back to the basics of loving God, winning souls, and living in and by His Word.
Posted in Thoughts from Judges by Phil Erickson with 6 comments.
Speak Your Mind
Today’s Passage – Judges 18 – 19 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
(Second Milers also read – Revelation 1 – 3; Proverbs 26; Psalms 126 – 130)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 61:1 – 3
Read the “0326 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And it was so, that all that saw it said, There was no such deed done nor seen from the day that the children of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt unto this day: consider of it, take advice, and speak your minds.” – (Judges 19:30)
Judges 19 contains one of the strangest and saddest stories in all of the Bible. In this account we learn of a man from the tribe of Levi that was travelling through Israel with his concubine. In a polygamous society a concubine was a woman that was married to a man, but did not have the same status as the man’s wife or wives. At any rate this man and his wife were looking for a place to stay for the night while they were travelling through the city of Gibeah, which was occupied by the Israelite tribe of Benjamin. For a long time no one would offer them lodging for the night, until suddenly an old man who was also a sojourner in the city offered them food, and lodging at his house. During the night, the men of the city attempted force entry into this older man’s home so that they could “know” the man that was visiting. In this case the word “know” meant that the men of the city wanted to have sexual relations with the man. What happened to this man in this story is very similar to what was attempted on the two angels who visited Lot in Sodom (see Genesis 19), which indicates the level of depravity that the men of this place had reached. They are finally content to take the man’s concubine and abuse her all night long until she ultimately dies from their cruelty. The travelling man then takes the body of his wife and cuts it up into pieces, and sends a piece of her body to each of the tribes of Israel. I realize that this is a strange story, but that’s what happened, in a nutshell.
My attention is drawn to the statement made to the reader in verse 30. We are instructed to “consider of it, take advice, and speak [our] minds”. Why did God tell us to do this after reading this portion of Scripture. I believe the reason is because the wickedness committed by these people from the tribe of Benjamin in the city of Gibeah was so heinous, that God did not want it to be just wept under the rug or passed by. He wants us to think about it; to get mad about it; and to do something about it. By the way, we will read tomorrow in chapter 20 what the rest of Israel does to punish this sin. I won’t spoil the story, but let me assure you that the people of Israel pay a great price for allowing this kind of wickedness to take place in the Land of Promise.
I believe that the advice given by God to the Israelites of that day is good for us today. He wants us to get mad about sin, and then do something about it. We are to speak our minds as well when it comes to condemning sin. This world ought to have no doubt in their minds about where we stand regarding the sin that is taking place in our land; and we ought to go beyond just condemning it with our mouths; we ought also to take action against it.
“Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.” – (1 Timothy 5:20)
“This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;” – (Titus 1:13)
“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” – (2 Timothy 4:2)
Let’s not turn our heads to sin, but rather let’s speak the truth in love, and stand against it.
Posted in Thoughts from Judges by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.
His Soul Was Vexed Unto Death – The Saturday Morning Post
Today’s Passage – Judges 14 – 17 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
(Second Milers also read – 2 John, 3 John, Jude; Proverbs 25; Psalms 121 – 125
Read the “0325 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And she fastened it with the pin, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awaked out of his sleep, and went away with the pin of the beam, and with the web. And she said unto him, How canst thou say, I love thee, when thine heart is not with me? thou hast mocked me these three times, and hast not told me wherein thy great strength lieth. And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death; That he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother’s womb: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man. And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, Come up this once, for he hath shewed me all his heart. Then the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and brought money in their hand. And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him. And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him. But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house.” (Judges 16:14-21)
Good morning. The devil will use whatever he can to destroy you. Here we find him using the whinny voice of Delilah…
“You don’t love me anymore… You won’t tell me what gives you your great strength… Three times you lied to me…” and on and on and on. No wonder Samson’s soul was vexed unto death. The devil broke him down till finally he told Delilah – cut my hair. And the Philistines did just that.
But notice the next verse…
“And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him.” (Judges 16:20)
The LORD was departed from Samson and he did not know it. It was all in the Nazarite Vow…
“All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separateth himself unto the LORD, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow.” (Numbers 6:5)
The cutting of the hair marked the end of the vow. Samson was separated unto God for His use. When they shaved his head, the LORD departed from Samson. And Samson did not know that the LORD left him. Maybe it was because Samson had gotten too close to the world that he did not notice God had departed from him. The devil can use others to break down our defenses like he used Delilah. Most of the times we may not notice the constant hammering. We need to walk in God’s Word…
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” (James 4:7-8)
[JESUS SAID] “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:37-40)
“Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” (Psalm 119:165)
Maybe Samson should have replied to her constant nagging, “Sorry Babe, I love you, but there are some things between me and the LORD that I will not discuss with, or tell you. You are not my wife. I shouldn’t even be here. This isn’t right. I’m leaving. Goodbye.”
And he walks out the door to fight the Philistines some other way, God’s way, the right way. But he didn’t. Samson let Delilah get to him. He broke down and told her. He lost his strength. He lost his freedom. And he lost his eyes. When we take an alternate route other than the one God has provided for us to walk in; when we take our vows to God lightly, you can expect problems and troubles to arise. But God always provides a way out of the mess we’ve gotten ourselves into. It starts with prayer…
“But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house. Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven. Then the lords of the Philistines gathered them together for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god, and to rejoice: for they said, Our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand. And when the people saw him, they praised their god: for they said, Our god hath delivered into our hands our enemy, and the destroyer of our country, which slew many of us. And it came to pass, when their hearts were merry, that they said, Call for Samson, that he may make us sport. And they called for Samson out of the prison house; and he made them sport: and they set him between the pillars. And Samson said unto the lad that held him by the hand, Suffer me that I may feel the pillars whereupon the house standeth, that I may lean upon them. Now the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines were there; and there were upon the roof about three thousand men and women, that beheld while Samson made sport. And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left. And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.” (Judges 16:21-30)
Is your life getting in the way of you serving God? Why not receive the life that He has for you? His yoke is easy and His burdens lite.
Posted in Devotions by Pastor Ted Stahl with 3 comments.
Today’s Passage – Judges 11 – 13 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
(Second Milers also read – 1 John 1 – 5; Proverbs 24; Psalms 116 – 120)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 51
Read the “0324 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“Then Manoah intreated the LORD, and said, O my Lord, let the man of God which thou didst send come again unto us, and teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born.” – (Judges 13:8)
In Judges chapter 13, we see the story surrounding the birth of Samson. Samson’s birth came at a time when Israel was once again away from God, and was suffering at the hands of the Philistines. An angel appeared to Samson’s mother, and told her that she was going to have a son, and that this son was to be a Nazarite from the womb. You may recall that God gave instructions regarding the vow of the Nazarite in Numbers 6; but this child, Samson, is the first example of a Nazarite in the Bible. We do not know everything about this vow, but we do know that it was a vow of separation; and we also know that the person who had taken the vow was not to drink wine, cut his hair, or touch a dead body. The interesting point about this particular case is that Samson was to be a Nazarite from birth. He never makes a vow. His separation was chosen for him by the Lord. Anyway, the angel did not appear to her husband, yet Manoah believed what the angel had told his wife. Manoah then “intreats” the Lord and asks Him to send the angel back, not to prove that it really happened, but to instruct them as to what they were supposed to do. Interestingly, the angel comes back, but only tells Manoah exactly what he had already told his wife.
I like the petition made by Manoah in Judges 13:8. He wants God to “teach” them regarding what to do with the child. Manoah acknowledged that he didn’t know what to do. He was demonstrating a dependence upon the Lord. I find myself often not knowing what to do. I often pray the prayer that Solomon prayed:
“And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?” – (1 Kings 3:7-9)
And sometimes I pray the prayer that Hezekiah prayed:
“O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.” – (2 Chronicles 20:12)
The funny thing about Manoah’s prayer is that God never did give him any more information than He already gave His wife; but He did talk to him, and somehow assured him that He was going to be with him as he raised this special child for the Lord. Manoah was just going to have to continue walking by faith. It it is often frustrationg for me to walk by faith. I want God to reveal every step of the plan to me ahead of time, but He never does. He tells me what I need to know for today, and expects me to just keep walking, and keep trusting Him. But I do not think that He is upset with me for asking Him. Those prayers are my declaration of dependence upon Him.
Posted in Thoughts from Judges by Phil Erickson with 3 comments.
When Good Men Do Nothing
Today’s Passage – Judges 9 – 10 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
(Second Milers also read – 2 Peter 1 – 3; Proverbs 23; Psalms 111 – 115)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 48:1 & 2
Read the “0323 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And the bramble said unto the trees, If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then come and put your trust in my shadow: and if not, let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon.” – (Judges 9:15)
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Edmund Burke
This is a very strange passage of Scripture but I think it contains a very valuable lesson for us. In chapter 8, we have Gideon who was mightily used of the Lord to rid the land of Israel from the oppressing Mideonites. After the battle was over the people of Israel ask Gideon to be their leader but he refuses saying that the Lord is their ruler. However, without a good man leading them the people once again begin to stray away from the Lord forcing God to bring about judgment. Now when we get to today’s passage we see that one of the sons of Gideon does desire to reign over the people and goes to all of his brothers asking them to support him, and they do. The problem is that this man, Abimelech, is a very wicked man. Once he gets his power the first thing he does is have all of his brothers (70 of them) put to death. One of the brothers escapes and stands upon a mountain and delivers this parable unto the people of the city of Shechem:
“The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive tree, Reign thou over us. But the olive tree said unto them, Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me they honour God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? And the trees said to the fig tree, Come thou, and reign over us. But the fig tree said unto them, Should I forsake my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to be promoted over the trees? Then said the trees unto the vine, Come thou, and reign over us. And the vine said unto them, Should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? Then said all the trees unto the bramble, Come thou, and reign over us. And the bramble said unto the trees, If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then come and put your trust in my shadow: and if not, let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon.” – (Judges 9:8-15)
The olive tree refused to act, the fig tree refused to act, the vine refused to act, so there was nobody left but the bramble, which is a sticker bush.
What he was saying through this parable was that oftentimes good men will refuse to take their place of leadership, perhaps because they are already busy doing good things. However, when good men refuse to act there will always be an evil person that will seize the opportunity to gain power and use it for his own purposes. This is what happens to the people of Shechem. Gideon refused to lead and then his sons willingly turn over control of the city to this one brother. Eventually, as a result of all of this, just about everybody is put to death.
Bad things happen when good men do nothing. By refusing to get involved we sometimes create a scenario where the wrong kind of people start calling the shots. Let’s apply this to the local church. Often times there are carnal people within the church that are hungry for power and they are always looking for opportunities to advance themselves. And then there are others within the body who are good men who just sit back and let it happen: perhaps because they have a lot of things going on in their lives or maybe because they are just trusting men who are willing to yield to others. By the way, it is never a good sign when an individual is seeking position. Truly spiritual people will often be reluctant to take positions because they either feel unworthy or doubt their own ability. However, we need to not neglect the opportunities and responsibilities that God places in front of us because when we refuse it opens up the door to someone else who may not be God’s choice.
We can also see this in government. Good people often refuse to get involved, leaving the door wide open to men and women who may not have the best interests of the people at hand. The end result is that things begin to change for the worse for everybody. Good people, godly people, need to stay in the process so that we all can keep the good things that God has entrusted to us. How involved are you in the process? Do you get involved in the local church and in your community and local government? Do you even vote? We need good people to do their part. The devil never stops trying to advance his agenda. We need to stay in the game in order to keep him from taking from us the wonderful blessings that God has given us.
Posted in Thoughts from Judges by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.
The Sword of the Lord, and of Gideon
Today’s Passage – Judges 7 – 8 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
(Second Milers also read – 1 Peter 1 – 5; Proverbs 22; Psalms 106 – 110
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 47:1
Read a previous post from this passage – “Little is Much.”
Read the “0322 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“20 And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon.” (Judges 7:20)
In Judges six, we saw God’s calling of Gideon to lead Israel against the Midianites who had been oppressing them for seven years. Though Gideon is insecure and reluctant, God assures him that he is the man that God has chosen, and the man that God will equip and bless to bring victory to Israel. God gives Gideon three assurances in chapter six:
He asks the Angel of the Lord to give him a sign (v. 17), which the Angel does by consuming with fire the sacrifice and the unleavened cakes that Gideon placed upon a rock.
He also asked God to make his fleece wet while the ground remained dry.
Finally, he asks God to keep the fleece dry while the ground around it is wet.
Here, in this chapter, we will see that God will once again encourage and assure Gideon that he is doing exactly what God wants him to do.
I The Lord Culls the Crowd (vs. 1 – 8)
God does not need a big crowd to win His battles or to fulfill His will. God wanted to be sure that the people knew that the victory came from Him.
The army of Israel started out with 32,000. Gideon invited the fearful to leave and they immediately lost 10,000 and were down to 22,000. By the way – it is an amazing thing that Gideon did not leave. Then the Lord set up a test at the watering hole, and there he lost almost the entire army, leaving only 300 left to fight against the huge numbers of Midianites.
This world is enamored with big numbers. big churches, big businesses. Growth is good if God is in it, but growth should not be the primary goal. We want to reach people, and we want to see people saved, for the Lord’s sake and for their good, not just so we can inflate our egos. God should be our primary goal, not numeric growth. If we are faithful to the Lord, He will probably give the increase, but if He doesn’t, we should still be content. Little is much when God is in it. God does not need big numbers. God’s people need a big God.
“And Joab answered, The LORD make his people an hundred times so many more as they be: but, my lord the king, are they not all my lord’s servants? why then doth my lord require this thing? why will he be a cause of trespass to Israel?” (1 Chronicles 21:3)
“And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few.” (1 Samuel 14:6)
We learn from Judges 8:10 that there were 135,000 Midianites that they were about to go up against.
God does not need gifted people, either:
“Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.” (1 Corinthians 1:25-29)
“And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)
But, be sure about this: the three hundred men that Gideon had left were all in. I would rather have 50 people who were sold out for the Lord than 5000 who were all about themselves. These 300 men that were left were being watched, and God liked what He saw in them. Warren Wiersbe said:
“Make every occasion a great occasion, for you can never tell when somebody may be taking your measure for a larger place.”
II The Lord Cheers Up Gideon and Causes the Midianites to Fear (vs. 7 – 15)
The dream was God’s way of assuring Gideon that everything was OK; that he was doing exactly what God wanted him to do, and that all would be well. Gideon was a little bit insecure. This is now the fourth time that God reassures him.
III The Lord Conceives a Strange Attack Plan (vs. 16 – 22)
Note – “middle watch” in v. 19 is from 10 PM – 2 AM.
God does not do things our way.
“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:33)
Notice also that Gideon leads by example (v. 17)
IV Israel Chases the Enemy (vs. 23 – 25)
Gideon chases the enemy completely to the other side of the Jordan River. Sometimes, we win the battle, but we fail to drive the enemy completely out of our lives, which allows them to regain strength again.
Notice the story starts with Gideon hiding by a winepress and ends with the enemies of Gideon being slain by a winepress.
The big problems that you have in your life are not big problems to God. The big enemies that you face are not big to God. God is well able to multiple your feeble efforts to fulfill His will. The widow’s mite was an awful lot of money in the hands of God. The little lad’s lunch of loaves and fishes was multiplied to feed 5000 men, and possible 15,000 more women and children. Little is much when God is in it.
In chapter eight, we see the conclusion of the campaign against the Midianites, and we learn what happens to Gideon afterwards, and what happens to Israel when Gideon is gone.
I Gideon Placates the Ephraimites Anger (vs. 1 – 3)
As the Midianites were escaping to the south and east, Gideon called upon Ephraim, which was located to the south of the location of the battle. They were strategically in the right spot to cut off many of the escaping Midianites, and they were able to capture and kill two of the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb.
However, the Ephraimites were upset because Gideon had not initially called them to fight. (See Judges 6:35) I am not sure of the reason that Gideon didn’t call for them at the beginning of the battle, but he assures them that their role at the end of the battle was critical to Israel’s success.
Don’t be offended if you are not asked to do something. It may be that God is reserving you for something bigger later.
Illustrate – I wanted to teach the 4th – 6th grade class but wasn’t asked. Later, however, Pastor Wedemeyer asked me to be his youth director.
II Gideon Pursues After the Remaining Midianites (vs. 8 – 12)
The men of Succoth and Penuel both chose the wrong side. They calculated that the 15,000 left from Midian should easily conquer these 300 from Israel. They calculated against God. Always a mistake.
Always take the side of what is right, regardless of what you think the consequences may be. Sometimes it looks as if the devil’s crowd is winning, but you should always side with God’s people.
Note – “discomfited” means “terrified.”
III Gideon Punishes Succoth and Penuel (vs. 13 – 17)
Gideon teaches Succoth a lesson, and they he kills all the men of Penuel. These cities reaped what they sowed. They were warned, but they made a bad decision, and God was giving them exactly what he warned them that he would give.
IV Gideon Puts an End to the Princes of Midian. (vs. 18 – 21)
These princes were brutal men who had murdered members of Gideon’s family.
Notice that Jether was asked by his father to put these princes to death, but he refused.
It would have been humiliating for (and possibly more painful) for these kings to be killed by Jether, rather than Gideon. Perhaps he was afraid. Maybe, he wasn’t ready. Maybe, he wasn’t gifted to be a warrior.
V Gideon Produces an Ephod (vs. 22 – 27)
Gideon turns down the offer of being their king. This is the first mention of Israel desiring a king.
The ephod eventually became an idol that the people worshipped.
Hezekiah had the same problem with the brazen serpent. People were worshipping it, so Hezekiah destroyed it. (2 Kings 18:4)
Note – 700 shekels = 42.5 pounds.
VI Gideon Passes and the People Forget God and Gideon’s Family (vs. 28 – 35)Israel failed to continue to worship the Lord, and they also failed to appreciate Gideon.
 Wiersbe, W. W. (1994). Be available (p. 60). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.
Today’s Passage – Judges 4 – 6 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
(Second Milers also read – James 1 – 5; Proverbs 21; Psalms 101 – 105
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 34:6
Read a previous post from this passage – “Deborah and Jael – Women of God”
Read the “0321 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said, Behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said.” – (Judges 6:36-37)
Three times in Judges 6, Gideon asks the Lord for a sign of some sort in order to assure him that it was, in fact, God that was speaking to him. The first time occurs when the angel of the Lord first appears to him in verse 17. Here he wants to be sure that it is the Lord. Maybe he was afraid that he was hallucinating, or perhaps being tricked. The Lord proves Himself to Gideon by consuming the kid and the bread upon the rock with fire.
The second and third time was regarding the fleece. He puts out the fleece twice: two nights in a row. The first night, he asked that the fleece would be wet with dew, and the ground dry. The second night, just to be sure, he asked that the ground be wet and the fleece be dry. God graciously proved Himself to Gideon on all of these occasions.
I have often heard people say that Gideon was not acting in faith because he kept asking for some sort of a sign. However, we must remember that God had not recorded in His word at this point anything about Gideon’s situation. Had God written through Moses or a prophet that there would be a man named Gideon that would deliver the children of Israel from the hand of the Mideonites, there might be a reason to accuse Gideon of lacking faith; but this was totally unpredicted, and unprecedented. I don’t blame Gideon for wanting to be sure that He was doing the will of God.
Today, we certainly are to walk by faith and not by sight. Most of what God calls us to do is clearly revealed in His Bible; but every once in a while, He reveals His will to us personally through extraordinary means. This does not happen very often, but it does happen. I have been saved for over thirty years, and I can only point to a few times where I put forth a “fleece” in order to determine God’s will. I will share one of these incidents with you. When I was in my senior year of Bible college, I was very burdened about what I was going to do after I graduated. There were a few opportunities offered to me in various places and capacities; but I wanted to be sure that I was completely following the will of God. In my heart, I wanted to come back home to New Jersey, but I was not sure that my heart was lining up with God’s will. I began to pray. I decided one day to call up Pastor Charlie Clark who pastored in south Jersey, in order to get some advice from him. I told him that I was praying about coming back to New Jersey to start a church, or work for a church. He recommended that I head back to New Jersey upon graduation, and we would begin to pray and work toward the planting of a church. I was very excited about that prospect, but God had a slightly different plan. You see, as God was working in my heart about coming to New Jersey – unknown to me – He was also working in another pastor’s heart about moving away from New Jersey. Just a few minutes after I got off the phone with Pastor Clark, He received another phone call from Pastor Dan Owens. Brother Owens was the man who started Jersey Shore Baptist Church. The Lord was leading him to go back into the military as a chaplain, but he wanted to make sure that he left his church in good hands. So Brother Owens called Pastor Clark in order to see if He knew of any pastor that was praying about coming to New Jersey. “Coincidentally”, Pastor Clark did know of someone. Pastor Clark has since shared with me that he has had very few phone calls through the years regarding people either looking for a church, or looking to leave a church; and to get two such calls within minutes of each other was definitely a “sign” that this was of God.
I am not saying that we should be tempting God, or asking God to prove Himself to us. If we are His children, we have already placed our faith in Him, and in His revealed will through the Word of God. I am saying, though, that it is OK to ask God to clearly reveal His perfect will for your life. If your like me, you want to be sure that you are doing exactly what God wants you to do. There are a lot of big decisions to make in life, and they are not all completely covered in the Bible. For instance: Who are you going to marry? Where you are going to live? What will be your life’s vocation? Where will you go to college? These are all important questions, and you want to be sure you are in the perfect will of God. I don’t think you are wrong to ask God to miraculously reveal His will to you personally, as He did to Gideon in our reading today.
Posted in Thoughts from Judges by Phil Erickson with 4 comments.
The “Vicious” Cycle of Judges
Today’s Passage – Judges 1 – 3 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
(Second Milers also read – Hebrews 10 – 13; Proverbs 20; Psalms 96 – 100
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 34
Read the “0320 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
Read previous posts from this passage – “God Sent Them A Deliverer,” and “Hold the Line.“
“And when the LORD raised them up judges, then the LORD was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the LORD because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them. And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way.” (Judges 2:18-19)
The Book of Judges covers the period of time from the death of Joshua to the beginning of the monarchy when King Saul was anointed. (Approximately from 1380 BC to 1050 BC) Joshua had driven out most of the inhabitants of the land, but there were still enemies within the borders of Israel that needed to be removed. Throughout judges, we see the victories and, unfortunately, the defeats of God’s people as they contend with these Canaanites and others.
During this period, Israel was ruled by judges. These judges were not necessarily sovereign rulers over the entire nation, but were mostly regional military and civil rulers and some of the dates of their leadership overlapped other judges.
The Book of Judges was probably written by Samuel, as is suggested by the Jewish Talmud. It had to be written after the coronation of King Saul as the Book claims four times that “there was no king in Israel.” (Judges 17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21:25) Judges would have to have been written after there was a king, but records history from before there was a king. It also had to be written before 990 BC, when David drove out the Jebusites from Jerusalem:
“And the children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites that inhabited Jerusalem; but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Benjamin in Jerusalem unto this day.” (Judges 1:21)
There were fifteen judges in all: thirteen mentioned in Judges, and then Eli and Samuel who are revealed in 1 Samuel. There is one female judge, named Deborah.
Throughout the Book of Judges we see a repeated cycle:
- Israel in a right relationship with God receiving God’s blessing of provision and protection.
- Israel moves away from God and begins to worship idols and fall into sin.
- God drops the hedge of protection that was placed around them, and Israel’s enemies begin to conquer them.
- Israel cries out to the Lord.
- The Lord raises up a judge.
- Israel is delivered.
We see the same thing happening in Christian’s lives today. Oftentimes people are saved out of very difficult circumstances. For a time, people are afterwards very contrite and zealous in their faithfulness to the Lord. However, often after experiencing the wonderful blessing of God, people will forget all about the God who blessed them. What a shame! Why can’t we learn to appreciate the Lord and remain devoted to Him as much during prosperity as we were during adversity.
America and the rest of the world are certainly experiencing adversity today. Let’s pray that this trial will cause us to cry out to the Lord as the Israelites did in days of old. But then let’s also pray that after deliverance comes, that we remain faithful.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 6 comments.
Keep Choosing the Lord
Today’s Passage – Joshua 22 – 24 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
(Second Milers also read – Hebrews 5 – 8; Proverbs 19; Psalms 91 – 95)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 25
Read the “0319 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” – (Joshua 24:15)
“And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses.” – (Joshua 24:22)
I have been considering this 24th chapter of Joshua for many years. It is one of those victorious portions of Scripture where the people of God do exactly what they are supposed to do. Joshua lays it all out for them. He basically tells them to pick a side. In other words, he gives them the option to choose to serve God, or to serve the many gods that were worshipped by the former inhabitants of the land of Canaan. The Israelites chose wisely. However, having studied the rest of the history of the Jewish people, I also know that they will often go back on their choice. Though they decided at this time to serve God, and forsake all other gods, they will soon begin to allow idolatry to come back into their lives. Though they once chose wisely, they didn’t keep choosing wisely.
I find that we are much the same way today. At one point in our lives we choose God. We come to Him for salvation, and surrender our lives to Him for service; but down the road, we change our minds. I don’t mean that we decide that we no longer want to be God’s child, but we often decide that living for the Lord isn’t as fun as we thought it was, and we start going in alternative directions. My encouragement to you today is to keep choosing the Lord. You chose Him as your Saviour in the past, choose Him as your Lord today. Choose today to yield your life to Him. Choose today to spend time with Him through Bible reading and prayer. Choose today to serve Him by serving the people He loves. Keep choosing the Lord.
Posted in Thoughts from Joshua by Phil Erickson with 3 comments.
All Came To Pass – The Saturday Morning Post
Today’s Passage – Joshua 19 – 21 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
(Second Milers also read – Philemon – Hebrews 4; Proverbs 18; Psalms 86 – 90
Read the “0318 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And the LORD gave unto Israel all the land which he sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein. And the LORD gave them rest round about, according to all that he sware unto their fathers: and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them; the LORD delivered all their enemies into their hand. There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.” (Joshua 21:43-45)
Good morning. I sometimes wonder if Israel fully understood that God had fulfilled His promise made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Israel had become a great nation. They finally had rest. They were in the promised land, a land flowing with milk and honey. All came to pass. Off course the time would come when Israel would turn their back on God, and God would raise up nations to punish Israel. Eventually God would remove them from the promised land. In 70 A.D., the Roman general Titus destroyed Jerusalem, and the Jews were scattered throughout the world. In 1948, God restored the nation of Israel and started bringing His people back into the land.
America has found it’s way to a different situation. Psalm 9:17 says…
“The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” (Psalm 9:17)
Our nation has tried to blot out God. They have tried to get people to forget about God. The godless Liberals have been working hard. They had the Bible taken out of schools. They had the Ten Commandments taken out of government office buildings. They have legalized murder in the abortion industry. They made boys to think they should have been girls, and girls to think they should have been boys: teaching that God must have made a mistake. God doesn’t make mistakes. There was a time when Homosexuality was a crime. America has legalized what God calls an abomination…
“And Rehoboam the son of Solomon reigned in Judah. Rehoboam was forty and one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the LORD did choose out of all the tribes of Israel, to put his name there. And his mother’s name was Naamah an Ammonitess. And Judah did evil in the sight of the LORD, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins which they had committed, above all that their fathers had done. For they also built them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree. And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.” (1Kings 14:21-24)
There were good kings also…
“And in the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel reigned Asa over Judah. And forty and one years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Maachah, the daughter of Abishalom. And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, as did David his father. And he took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made. And also Maachah his mother, even her he removed from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove; and Asa destroyed her idol, and burnt it by the brook Kidron. But the high places were not removed: nevertheless Asa’s heart was perfect with the LORD all his days.” (1Kings 15:9-15:14)
“Jehoshaphat was thirty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi. And he walked in all the ways of Asa his father; he turned not aside from it, doing that which was right in the eyes of the LORD: nevertheless the high places were not taken away; for the people offered and burnt incense yet in the high places. And Jehoshaphat made peace with the king of Israel. Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, and his might that he shewed, and how he warred, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? And the remnant of the sodomites, which remained in the days of his father Asa, he took out of the land.” (1Kings 22:42-46)
Many times we think if we have a Christian president and vice-president that all will be well. The liberals want to renew their license to sin, and be able to freely do their abominations again. When we had the team of Trump/Pense, every time they tried to do something good for the country, the God rejecting Socialists would block it. We need to keep our leaders in prayer that they don’t fall into the hands of the devil. The Lord may give America more time, however, most scholars will tell you that America, in the end times, is not in the Bible. Everything revolves around God’s city and the nation of Israel. As a nation, and as individuals, we can turn our backs on God and Israel, or we can turn and fight for God and Israel.
“The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” (Psalm 9:17)
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2Chronicles 7:14)
“…all came to pass.” (Joshua 21:45)
Posted in Devotions by Pastor Ted Stahl with 2 comments.