Showing posts from March 24, 2013

Purpose of Judges

Between the life of Joshua who was the leader to succeed Moses and plant the people of Israel in the Promised Land and Saul the first King of Israel, there is a period of approximately 337 years that is called the Period of the Judges.
The purpose of judges was more about killing Israel's enemies than sitting on a bench and judging. In a time when everyone did that which was right in their own eyes these judges brought the people of God back from their rebellious periods of idol worship.
There were at least fourteen judges, some with very few verses dedicated to them and some with many chapters. Of them we have heard much about Gideon, Judge #6 (Judges 6-8) and Samson, Judge #11 (Judges 13-16). The Judges were from different tribes of Israel and the time of their rules varied from 1 to 80 years.
What was God's purpose in allowing this extended period of the Judges? We see that after partially conquering the land of Promise, the people did not rid themselves of the evil influences…

Faith Struggle

Gideon's story of conquering the Midianite army of 135,000 men was reviewed yesterday in Today's Word but here is the rest of the story from Judges 6-8. Gideon's journey was a faith struggle to believe that God was going to make him successful. It was a process not an event.
He meets the Angel of the Lord and is declared to be the leader of the coming battle, makes an offering to the Angel, then is told to destroy the idol of Baal in his own city. He is afraid and does this task during the night plus erects an altar to God and sacrifices on it. He has to be defended by his father against the men of the city who want to kill him for destroying their idol.
Gideon wants more assurance from God that he is doing the right thing so he puts out a fleece and asks God to make it wet while the ground around it dry overnight. God does this and then Gideon asks God to reverse the process and make the fleece dry while the ground is wet overnight. God does this bringing Gideon's faith…

Trusting God

Gideon becomes a lesson for all of us in the book of Judges by defeating the Midianites with only three hundred men. His tale of victory started out on rocky footing.
God was looking for a man to deliver Israel. Gideon had been threshing wheat in a wine press to hide him and his grain from detection by the Midianites. The Angel of the Lord came to Gideon saying, "The Lord is with you, mighty warrior." (Judges 6:12) Gideon's first response was to deny both parts of this statement. If God is with us why are we subjected to continual conquest by the Midianites?And second, how can I save Israel, my family is the smallest in the tribe of Manasseh and I am the least in my family.
Gideon seemed to think that God could do nothing because he and his family were nothing. Gideon saw his circumstances and his inadequacies but God saw him as a "mighty warrior." His daily life was one of secrecy but God saw and delighted in him. God chose to use him in a way that he could not…

Recognizing God

Although just four chapters long, the story of Naomi found in the book of Ruth is a powerful story of God's protection, guidance and blessing on a life. Naomi travels with her husband to the land of Moab, an enemy of Israel, to get away from famine. They go there to live but as they do Elimelech the husband dies. Naomi is left as a widow in a foreign land trying to eek out a living with two sons to feed. Over the course of ten years the sons marry but also die.
Naomi thinks that her lot is one where "the hand of the Lord is gone out against me." (Ruth 1:13) She also says after her return from Moab that "the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me," "has testified against me," and "has afflicted me." (Ruth 1:20-21) She is unable to see any good in her life and that great good is just around the corner.
When she decides to go back to Bethlehem in Judah, her two daughter-in-laws begin the journey with her but her persistent encouragement to the…

Questioning Life

Where do you go to obtain the wisdom you need to face the challenges of life? The book of Proverbs is about different kinds of people, what they believe and do, and how they interact with one another. It also is about the changing circumstances of life and how we interpret and process them. To grow in wisdom in our dealings with people and circumstances will make life more pleasant. To ignore wisdom is like ignoring a bath or brushing your teeth, eventually you will regret it.
Proverbs 14:8 states, "The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways..." This does not say, "the wisdom of the learned," but "of the prudent." This is one who is open to wisdom not one so full of knowledge that he thinks he has no need of it.
The subject of this verse is giving thought to our ways. How many of us rush on through the days and nights and never take a moment to meditate on the question, "what is my present path getting me?" To make the excuse of to…

Lost Values

There is a powerful contribution that the family makes to the security of a nation. It is not in the number of children they produce or the wealth the parents accumulate for the family. The contribution is to the education of the children in the history of their family and nation.
The people of Israel failed to realize this and thus were soon separated from their past. Judges 2:10 states, "After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel." Joshua's generation had died in the wilderness and only Joshua and Caleb were left to enter into the promise land. Joshua led the people of Israel by working with the next generation of elders, so when Joshua dies at 110 years, his "generation" is gone and the elders are birthing the third generation. This verse indicates that by the time the second generation is dead the third generation knows nothing about the great feats of …