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.
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.
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.
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.
Ephraim and Manasseh
Today’s Passage – Joshua 16 – 18 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
(Second Milers also read – Titus 1 – 3; Proverbs 17; Psalms 81 – 85
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 18:3 & 46
Read a previous post from this passage – “Get to Work”
Read the “0317 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“13 And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel’s left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel’s right hand, and brought them near unto him. 14 And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim’s head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh’s head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn.” (Genesis 48:13-14)
Today’s post is a little longer and a bit more involved than usual. Today, we will do a Bible study on the half tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim. Chapters 16 and 17 deal with the land distribution for the Tribe of Joseph, which was made up of the two half tribes of Ephraim (Chapter 16) and Manasseh (Chapter 17).
See also Genesis 48 to help make sense of Joshua 16 and 17. I will highlight a few verses from that portion of Scripture here:
“4 And said unto me, Behold, I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, and I will make of thee a multitude of people; and will give this land to thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession. 5 And now thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee into Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine.” (Genesis 48:4-5)
Note on Genesis 48:4 – 5 – Joseph’s two sons were adopted by Jacob here, and were given the right of the firstborn, but Ephraim traded place with Manasseh as the firstborn among the sons of Joseph:
“Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel, (for he was the firstborn; but, forasmuch as he defiled his father’s bed, his birthright was given unto the sons of Joseph the son of Israel: and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright. For Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief ruler; but the birthright was Joseph’s:)” (1 Chronicles 5:1-2)
“19 And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.” (Genesis 48:19)
Note on Genesis 48:19 – After the kingdom splits in the time of Jeroboam and Rehoboam, Ephraim becomes the more dominant tribe in the northern kingdom. Also, Shiloh would be the city within the borders of Ephraim where the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant would stay for approximately 300 years. Joshua, the great leader of Israel, was from the tribe of Ephraim.
“22 Moreover I have given to thee one portion above thy brethren, which I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword and with my bow.” (Genesis 48:22)
Note on Genesis 48:22 – Genesis does not mention this conquest, but the parcel of land that he referred to here is mentioned in John 4:5:
“Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.” (John 4:5)
I The Distribution of Land
A The Distribution for Ephraim (Joshua 16:5 – 9 See map)
Note on v. 9 – apparently Ephraim was also allotted some cities within the territory of Manasseh, perhaps because their total land area was small.
B The Distribution for Manasseh (Joshua 17:1 – 2; 7 – 11)
Note on Joshua 17:1
“And the children of Machir the son of Manasseh went to Gilead, and took it, and dispossessed the Amorite which was in it. And Moses gave Gilead unto Machir the son of Manasseh; and he dwelt therein.” (Numbers 32:39-40)
II The Dereliction of Duty
“But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth: But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee: That they teach you not to do after all their abominations, which they have done unto their gods; so should ye sin against the LORD your God.” (Deuteronomy 20:16-18)
A The Disobedience of Ephraim (vs. 10)
They failed to drive out all the Canaanites. This was slightly different from the situation with the Gibeonites, who made a peace treaty with Joshua. This was also different from the situation in chapter 15 where we are told that Jebusites dwelled with the children of Judah. Here there was no treaty, nor was there a peaceful coexistence, but the Canaanites were apparently conquered and made slaves. This was against God’s explicit command:
Disobedience is part of our fallen human nature – We won’t get it right all of the time.
Disobedience will cause long-term problems. The Canaanites that Ephraim allowed to remain in the land would eventually cause problems for them. Idolatry was part of Canaanite culture, and eventually would become a big problem in Israel.
The things that we disobediently allow in our lives today, may one day destroy our children or grand-children.
B The Disobedience of Manasseh (Joshua 17:12 – 13)
Manasseh’s situation was slightly different yet. They at first could not (vs. 12); then they would not drive the Canaanites out. (v. 13)
III The Daughters of Zelophehad (Joshua 17:3 – 6)
See Numbers 27:1 – 11
The five daughters of Zelophehad brought a unique problem before Moses that Moses took up with God. Their father had no sons to give his land inheritance to and the daughters were afraid that they were going to lose their portion of the land. The Lord said that they were entitled to the inheritance. This caused Moses to write an amendment to the Law.
But this caused another potential problem. If the daughters of Zelophehad inherit land and then marry outside of their tribe, then the land would transfer to another tribe. (See Numbers 36:1 – 13) God stated that any women receiving a land inheritance would only be permitted to marry within her tribe.
IV The Dissatisfaction of Manasseh and Ephraim (Joshua 17:14 – 18)
Here we see presumably the two half tribes complaining to Joshua regarding the portion of land that they received. They said it was too small. They said that they were far too “great” a people to be confined to such a small piece of land. Together, their population was 82,500, which was large. Manasseh had increased in size dramatically (by approximately 20,000 men) during their wandering in the Wilderness. Ephraim had decreased by 8,000 men.
Joshua stated that what they had was enough, but they weren’t making the most of it.
They would have to work for it.
They would have to fight for it.
Many times, God’s people are dissatisfied with their lives, causing them to covet things that belong to somebody else. God wants us to appreciate what we have and make the most of what we have.
Don’t covet somebody else’s home – make the most of the home that God gave you. Don’t covet somebody else’s marriage – work hard and fight to make yours the best it can be.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.
Today’s Passage – Joshua 13 – 15 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
(Second Milers also read – 2 Timothy 1 – 4; Proverbs 16; Psalms 76 – 80)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Joshua 1:8
Read a previous post from this passage – “I Want That Mountain.“
Read the “0316 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“1 And these are the countries which the children of Israel inherited in the land of Canaan, which Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel, distributed for inheritance to them. 2 By lot was their inheritance, as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses, for the nine tribes, and for the half tribe. 3 For Moses had given the inheritance of two tribes and an half tribe on the other side Jordan: but unto the Levites he gave none inheritance among them. 4 For the children of Joseph were two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim: therefore they gave no part unto the Levites in the land, save cities to dwell in, with their suburbs for their cattle and for their substance. 5 As the LORD commanded Moses, so the children of Israel did, and they divided the land.” (Joshua 14:1-5)
“33 But unto the tribe of Levi Moses gave not any inheritance: the LORD God of Israel was their inheritance, as he said unto them.” (Joshua 13:33)
63 As for the Jebusites the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the children of Judah could not drive them out: but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Judah at Jerusalem unto this day.” (Joshua 15:63)
In Joshua, chapters 13 – 15, we see how the land was divided among the twelve tribes of Israel. The general principle was that God was going to give some land, originally only on the western side of the Jordan River, to each of the tribes, but there were some anomalies to this general distribution plan.
First, because the Israelites were attacked by the nations on the eastern side of the Jordan River, they ended up acquiring some additional land there. The tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh were given portions on the eastern side. Note – I’ll explain this “half-tribe” in a minute. Anyway, this additional land allowed the children of Israel to spread out a little more. God did not give them this eastern land initially, but because they were attacked, God allowed them to conquer those nations and take their land.
Second, regarding the “half-tribes” of Manasseh and Ephraim, Jacob had divided the inheritance of Joseph with his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim (See Genesis 48). There were still only twelve portions of land distributed, but the tribe of Levi was not to inherit any land; they were the priests and servants of the Lord for the Tabernacle and later, the Temple. They were given Levitical cities, forty-eight of them (see Numbers 35:1 – 8; Joshua 21:41), distributed throughout the land of Israel, and six of those cities would be designated as Cities of Refuge. These cities were to be given to the Levites within the borders of the ten other tribes and two “half-tribes.”
The third interesting point from this passage is that we see in Joshua 15:63 that the Jebusites who inhabited Jerusalem were not removed from the land. The verse tells us that the children of Judah could not drive them out, which is amazing because God promised that He would go before them, and that He would remove all of the inhabitants from the land. I wonder what the problem was for this particular group of people. The Jebusites actually remained in Jerusalem until David drove them out many years later (1 Chronicles 11:1 – 9).
Perhaps, the most interesting portion of these three chapters was the old man, Caleb, still fighting battles for the Lord. God gave him the city of Hebron for his efforts (Joshua 14:13). See – I Want That Mountain.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.
Leadership Lessons Learned by Joshua (by Kyle Bilby)
“And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD.” (Joshua 9:14)
Today’s Passage – Joshua 8 – 9 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
(Second Milers also read – 1 Timothy 1 – 3; Proverbs 14; Psalms 66 – 70)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 John 4:7 & 8
Read the “0314 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
Chapter 8 picks up where 7 left us. Israel just got defeated at Ai. Achan and his family were the root cause of this. They kept some of the “loot” from the victory at Jericho Which was forbidden by God after this specific battle (6:18). Achan and his whole family and possessions were destroyed and Israel repented. Note here that Joshua sees Gods will and wisdom (7:6-9).
Chapter 8 begins with God responding to the repentance for Achan’s family’s sin with an encouraging set of instructions for final Victory in Ai. Remember that it has always been God’s will for his people to destroy the inhabitants of the Promised Land and give his people possession of this land. God even tells them that all the spoils of the battle of AI can be all theirs. He gives Joshua the battle plan. This time Joshua and the people do exactly as God commands them. They draw out the soldiers from the town and sneak in behind, burn and destroy the city and the inhabitants. Complete victory in Ai. No doubt because they did exactly as God told them.
Lessons Learned from Chapter Eight:
- Follow the Lord’s Plan for our lives
- Use all the resources God has given
- Seek Gods will and his wisdom
- Expect the outcome that God has promised (Good or Bad)
In chapter 9, the southern kings are starting to understand that God is on the side of the Israelites. They are seeing these great cities and strongholds fall to Israel and I’m sure they know that without God it wouldn’t have been possible. They decide to group together in a united front to oppose the Israelites, except for the Gibeonites. They devise a plane to trick the Israelites into signing a “peace treaty” with them to save them from destruction. They claimed to be a people from a far country, taking moldy bread, old wineskins, patched up sandals. They really went out of their way to put up this front, claiming they traveled so far their sandals were coming apart and their food had spoiled. It works. Israel agrees to this covenant, which was strictly forbidden. (Exodus 23:23-24) Israel was not suppose to make any covenants with any Canaanite tribes. The key verse for this chapter is 14. “And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the lord.” They use their own wisdom and fall for these lies that the Gibeonites had told them instead of seeking God’s wisdom. When Joshua finds out that they lied it was already too late. Israel holds to the oath and does not harm them when they come into their land. Even though the people complained to the rulers of Israel they knew that keeping an oath, even a bad oath was better than allowing one sin (wiping out the Gibeonites) to follow another sin (making the oath without seeking God). Joshua instead turns the Gibeonites into servants to the Lord as a punishment (9:21-27). The Gibeonites were not thrilled about becoming wood cutters and water carriers for Israel, but they knew that this was better than destruction. Like David would write in Psalm 84:10:
“For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.” (Psalm 84:10)
In these passages we see that it’s never too late to call sin … sin . Point it out. Get rid of it. Repent and seek God’s forgiveness. In the end you’re far ahead if you seek God’s wisdom in your everyday life. Pray about the all the “little” things. The Big ones will be automatic.
The history of Israel’s experiences reflect the cyle of most christians:
-Obedience followed by victory
-victory followed by a blessing
-blessing followed by disobedience and pride
-disobedience followed by defeat
-defeat followed by judgement
-judgement followed by repentance
-repentance followed by obedience
-obedience followed by victory
These chapters are a great example of:
The battle is always the Lord’s including the one you may be facing.
If you find yourself in sin, repent and lean on our Lord.
Do it His way and let Him handle it.
Seek Him in everything you do.
Posted in Devotions by Kyle Bilby with 4 comments.
Moses’ Epitaph – The Saturday Morning Post
Today’s Passage – Deuteronomy 32 – 34 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
(Second Milers also read – Colossians 1 – 4; Proverbs 11; Psalms 51 – 55
Read the “0311 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, In all the signs and the wonders, which the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land, And in all that mighty hand, and in all the great terror which Moses shewed in the sight of all Israel.” (Deuteronomy 34:10-12)
Good morning. Inscribed here, by God, at the end of the book of Deuteronomy is Moses’ epitaph. An epitaph is an inscription, usually on a tombstone like: R.I.P., …He was a good father and husband, …a loving son or daughter; things like that. Supposedly, the epitaph on the grave of actor W. C. Fields reads: “All things considered, I’d rather be here than in Philidelphia.”
But Moses did not have a headstone for his epitaph, so the Lord put an epitaph here at the end of Deuteronomy. There are three characteristics we can glean about Moses from his epitaph.
1) Moses knew the LORD face to face: he had a personal relationship with the Loed Jesus Christ.
“And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face…” (Deuteronomy 34:10)
Moses met the Lord when he went to see the burning bush. And the Lord was with him all the way through his death and burial. Moses will not hear what many so-called “Christians” will hear…
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:21-23)
“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)
The LORD knew Moses face to face, and He would never leave him nor forsake him. The second characteristic we can glean from Moses’ epitaph is that…
2) He did the signs and wonders which the Lord sent him to do.
Ephesians 2:10 tells us…
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)
Moses walked in the good works that God ordained for him to walk in. Moses had to show God’s strong and mighty hand before Egypt would let God’s people go. Moses had faith that God would resue them even when they had their backs to the Red Sea, and watched as the Egyptian chariots came closer to them. God stopped them with fire, and then parted the sea so Israel could escape. A mirical of faith…
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
An impossible situation at the Red Sea. An impossible situation getting water from a rock. An impossible situation that Israel crossed the Red Sea on dry land. An impossible situation that non of their clothes or sandles wore out while wondering through the wildernes for forty years.
“But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” (Maqtthew 19:26)
We have good works that God has ordained for us to walk in. I wonder how many I missed because of a lack of faith… how about you?
The third characteristic we can glean from Moses’ epitaph is…
3) He was an example to his people.
“In all the signs and the wonders, which the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land, And in all that mighty hand, and in all the great terror which Moses shewed in the sight of all Israel.” (Deuteronomy 34:11-12)
As the Bible said in Ephesians 2:10, that God ordained good works for us to walk in. Just like Jesus, we are to be an example to others…
“So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” (John 13:12-17)
The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy…
“But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2Timothy 3:14-17)
What kind of example do we put forth to the people God has given us. If you look at Moses, and this is a great example that he put forth, every time Israel sinned, Moses would be on his face begging God to forgive them. What kind of example do we put forth? Makes me wonder what my epitaph will say. How about you?
Posted in Devotions by Pastor Ted Stahl with 1 comment.
Deuteronomy (“2nd Law” or “Repeated Law”) by Wesley Clayton
Today’s Passage – Deuteronomy 19 – 22 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
(Second Milers also read – Galatians 4 – 6; Psalms 31 – 35; Proverbs 7)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – SSMicah 6:8
Read the “0307 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
Deuteronomy – Second Law or Repeated Law
First off there are some important things we must remember when reading the book of Deuteronomy. One, this was written to ancient Israel, not us, we can not insert ourselves into these passages. What we can do however is see some eternal principles for the Christian life that we should adhere too. Secondly, the reason the book was written is because there was now a new generation of Israelites that were going to enter the promised land. The Exodus generation disqualified themselves from entering the promised land and this new generation needed to be reminded of the original laws and there were some new ones or clarified laws as well. Thirdly, we must remember Moses was not going to enter this promised land with the Israelites. Therefore he must prepare them for the things they will face, because their record doesn’t favor them when it comes to the times Moses has had to leave them. The Book of Deuteronomy is a series of speeches by Moses calling this new generation to be faithful to the covenant with God
Three Major Sections
- Moses opening speech 1-11
- Collection of the Laws 12-26
- Moses final speech and death 27-34
Section 1. Moses opening speech 1-11
Chapters 1-3 – How things have gone so far
Chapters 4-11 – call to covenant faithfulness
In chapter 6:4-5 we read some very familiar words; words that Jesus himself used in the New Testament Matthew 22:37. This is what is known as the Shama. The Shama (some spell it Shema) became an important daily prayer in Judaism.
Hear (obey), O Israel: the LORD our God is one LORD(God is the one and only God Israel is to worship and obey): And thou shalt love (love brings the context of devotion) the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. (Deuteronomy 6:4 – 5)
(Some different ways in which the word Shama is used)
Shama – Hear or Listen – Proverbs 20:12
Shama – Pay Attention or focus on – Leah named her son Simeon or Shim-on in Hebrew – Genesis 29:33 Because the LORD hath heard (shama)
Shama – responding to what you hear Psalm 27:7 asking God to respond or act
Ex 19:5 – Listen and obey or Keep my covenant
11:26 Behold I set. Fore you this day a blessing and a curse – a blessing if ye obey … and a curse if ye will not obey.
Section 2. Collection of the Laws 12-26 (roughly arranged topically)
Chapter 12-16a Israels worship of God (one central temple to worship the one God) and Israels care for the poor All Israelites set aside 1/10 (tithe) to give to the poor every 3 years. These were to set Israel apart from the rest of the world/society as they were entering into the Promised land.
Chapter 16b – 18 character qualities of Israels leaders (Elders, Priest, and Kings) God would send prophets to keep them accountable.
Chapter 19-26 Israel’s civil laws (i.e. marriage, family, and business) & Social Justice/legal system and how it was to protect widows orphans and immigrants.
These were given to set Israel apart from the rest of the world
Section 3. Moses final speech and death 27-34
Listen and obey = blessing
Rebellion = devastation and exile
Forces decision 30:15-20
Chapter 32 – poem of warning
Chapter 33 – poem of blessing
Then Moses walks up on the mountain and dies.
The chapters I was assigned were 19-22 which fall in the section of where all the Laws were being given. The one thing that shocked me most was how many there were. I mean that’s 14 chapters of nothing but laws and statutes, who could ever keep all of them. That brings a whole new level to when the Apostle Paul says in Philippians 3:6b “touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.” This was when Paul was describing himself as a Pharisee and he says he was blameless according to the law. Adam and Eve couldn’t follow one verse but Paul is blameless for 14+ Chapters in the Old Testament?! This provoked a couple of thoughts. First and foremost I am so thankful we aren’t under the law. Jesus gave the Pharisees the greatest commandment in Matthew 22:37-40 “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Secondly why so were there so many laws? Well first off for the Children of Israel they were there to set them apart from the rest of the people groups. They were about to go into the promised land where a lot of sinful things were going on, and these laws were separating them from the sin and sanctifying them to God. Along those same lines as Galatians says the law was the schoolmaster unto salvation. The law mad the Children of Israel totally reliant upon God, and reminded them of where they really stood in light of the law and ultimately who God was/is. Now going back to the Shama and Matthew 22:37-40, how is loving the Lord with all thy heart souls and mind the greatest commandment how can that replace all those laws and statutes? It’s pretty simple actually, when we truly put God where he should be we will put ourselves where we should truly be. In our proper places everything else will fall in line where they should. There are only two questions we must ask/answer now, are you putting God in His proper place in your life, ahead of everything else where He has the preeminence, or is something else there?
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 4 comments.
Filthy Rags And Sin – The Saturday Morning Post
Today’s Passage – Deuteronomy 9 – 11 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
(Second Milers also read – 2 Corinthians 5 – 8; Proverbs 4; Psalm 16 – 20)
Read the “0304 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the LORD thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the LORD hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD doth drive them out from before thee. Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may perform the word which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Understand therefore, that the LORD thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiffnecked people.” (Deuteronomy 9:4-6)
Good morning. Isaiah wrote…
“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isaiah 64:6)
The Lord told us…
“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
Our righteousness is as filthy rags, and without Jesus we can do nothing. But yet, like the Jews, we are a stiffnecked people doing what we want to do, even trying to serve the Lord in our own power.
Israel was getting ready to enter the promised land. God wanted to make it clear to them why. There were two reasons given…
1) Because of the wickedness of the nations they were going to displace.
These people worshipped false gods, and did many evil and wicked things, much like America today. The abomination known as Homosexuality is freely allowed to be practiced here. The murder of unborn babies and then butchering them for parts. Let me ask you a question here, just something to think about: if what is conceived in a mother’s womb is just a blob of goo and not a baby, how is Planned Parenthood selling the parts? All for the sake of the almighty dollar, and the convenience.
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” (2Timothy 3:1-5)
The second reason is…
2) God promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
As the sand of the sea and the stars of the sky, God promised to make Israel a great nation…
“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.” (Hebrews 11:8-12)
America was also a great nation, until it turned away from God and became self-righteous. But America still has hope if we turn back to God.
“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)
Some times I wonder what country will replace our nation because of our wickedness? Remove the filthy rags, and put on the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Posted in Devotions by Pastor Ted Stahl with 3 comments.