Click here for the 3 chapters. But Brace yourself.
Chapter 19. Whoever said the Bible was Boring never read the Old Testament! SO what in Sam Hill is this story about. This Levite has gone soooo far from the Lord and His commands that He chooses Hospitality over God. Did anyone pick up on the Parallel story here? Have you read something similar in January? When God told them to conquer ALL the Promise Land it was to PROTECT them from becoming like the enemy. Well guess what…the “world” has a strong pull on the weak flesh! GO back and look at Genesis 19. and tell me what you see. Good grief, God’s People are as bad as Sodom and Gomorrah.
So I think 19 was pretty black and white but let me “story tell” chapter 20 in case you go confused with the Tribes. ….SO the Body was cut up into 12 pieces and mailed to the 12 tribes. That was a Call to Unite (that is how divided the 12 tribes of Israel has become.) Welllll One tribe would rather fight against the other 11 than give up the criminals who did this (which by the way the Levite was just as responsible for the deaths). The tribe that refused to fight was Benjamin. So the tribes fought against Benjamin in a civil war. Well after the war they said to themselves…”NOw what? We killed all the woman, what is going to happen to the Tribe of Benjamin…we will lose them and only be 11 tribes….*&^%#%^**….what are we going to do…I got a plan! Let’s help them steal new wives! Yeah…that’s the plan.”
And the last Scripture reads….
In those days Israel had no King; everyone did as he saw fit
Sounds like today 😦
The last 3 Chapters of Judges. (Click Here) WOW, The Mennonites have a saying “We are living in the time of God’s patience”. The book of Judges is not about the characters and the stories. Although how easy it was to get swept into some of them, a fat man getting stabbed, Deborah (yeah), Gideon’s misfits, and of course Samson and Delilah, and tomorrow the Pony Express Body parts!
The Bible is not about the people it is about what God is doing with the people. Judges is about God’s remarkable patience . Time after time after time God Deliverers us! However, what we read about Judges is His patience will have a limit. After He delivers us, we tend to go back to our life. I see it happen all the time with myself and the ones around me. We cry out to him. He helps us. We have a small gratitude or fire for the Lord and then….we slip back to our old self. This book of Judges started with one of the saddest verses God could write: 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.
Judges is huge for us to consider our life right now. Today. If we were in the book of Judges, what would our character be? Seriously, look around your house? How much time am I giving the Lord? My offerings? My excuses? My lifestyle? My friends? My TV? My kids? How do they line up to what is asked of us back in Deuteronomy? Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Ouch.
Take the time to reread it if the Spirit is telling you too. Joshua ended with a choice phrase “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. These Judges were not perfect, not by a country mile (see I can be southern). But one was finally raised up hundreds of years later to once and for all Deliver us so we don’t have to slip back to my life, we fall right into His! Our greatest Judge, our Defender our Warrior. Jesus.
- Samson and Delilah
- The death of Samson
- Idolatry in the tribe of Dan
- Danites settle in Laish
Samson disregards boundaries, ignores good advice, breaks rules, overconfident, uses anger as a tool, repeats the same mistakes, has a huge ego, takes a lot for granted, loses sight of the big picture, and thinks with his….
Delilah, I am not excusing her but put yourself in her shoes. In verse 5 it says “The rulers of the Philistines…each one of us will give you eleven hundred shekels of silver”. Who are these men? Look at Joshua 13:3
from the Shihor River on the east of Egypt to the territory of Ekron on the north, all of it counted as Canaanite (the territory of the five Philistine rulers in Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath and Ekron—that of the Avvites from the south, all the land of the Canaanites,
These were very very wealthy men. Together they were offering her 5500 Sheckel. To give you an idea, a half of a Sheckel could buy 160 grains of barley. So the offer was big! Brian…give us a value!
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. (1 Tim 6:10)
(The great sacrifice to Dagon., their god. Tuck that in your pocket, we are going to hear about that again in 1 Samuel).
SO how is Samson a Judge. How was He raised up for the benefit of the Israelites? Before he died, like all those who fall, cried out to the Lord for strength, and God grants it. And as all the Judges that were raised up for God’s purpose, he was a vessel after all Verse 16:30-31
Then Samson prayed to the LORD, “O Sovereign LORD, remember me. O God, please strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.
God will use us one way or another.
Chapter 17 broke my heart (if it broke my heart,, I can’t imagine how God must feel).
verse 6”Everyone did as he saw fit” A young Levite from Bethlehem in Judah, who had been living within the clan of Judah, left that town in search of some other place to stay. On his way he came to Micah’s house in the hill country of Ephraim.
There is so much to that verse it is unbelievable.
- What is a Levite doing in Bethlehem? Living with a clan of Judah? Looking for a place to stay?
- Why is Ephraim in the hill country?
Oh the humanity! It is all falling apart…right down to the core! When you have priests, homeless, in land that was not divided for them, going to the hills since they no longer had land, the Ephramites, were chased to from the pagans and living with an idol worshipping man that thinks life will be good NOW because he has a priest in his house…uhhhh. Not good. That is just superstition and idolatry.
Life without living with God might seem like a small thing, but look how steep the slope gets!
I know this is long, feel free to log out…but I cannot stop! Chapter 18 explains. As many think today…this is a story about superstition. Priests are workers for the Lord. They do not have anything we do not have. We see here in this text that people believe God favors them over regular men. FALSE. It is idolatrous to think so too. Statues, idols, Trinkets, Cared images. See this is something many think started after the Christian Church began. Nope, we see here in the Old Testament that it began long before. I hate to sound like a broken record, but this too is very very superstitious, pagan, and idolatrous.
The chapter ends with the Danites conquering land. Here is the deal. That was not in the very specific boundary area that was allowed to be conquered! Laish was not a land that was to have judgement fall on them. Ugggg.
Ok, I have read this story before. I have seen the movie. I have even seen the cartoon. This time sooo different. I only read the chapters I was supposed to so I can really concentrate on it. I’ve always concentrated on the riddle…part, and truly I didn’t realize all the stuff Samson was doing wrong!
- First, when you read about him being a Nazarite was it so cool that you knew EXACTLY what they were taking about! If you don’t you have to read Numbers 6. A Nazarite is a Vow is dedication of one self to the Lord. We can take the vow for a short period of time, for a long time, or parents can vow their children for a lifetime. Seems to me God vowed him before he was even born (just as he did John the Baptist).
- The Nazarites could not do 3 things. 1. Drink Fermented drink. 2. Cut their hair. 3. Touch anything dead.
- Samson truly made one bad decision after the other in the site of God. I guess that is why in 13:5 the Bible says Samson will begin the deliverance of Israel from the hands of the Philistines. He surly wouldn’t be able to complete it. But God is Sovereign and He raised up Samson for His plan and purpose. He chose him for a reason. He knew his weaknesses.
So let’s see:
- Samson intermarried (uhhh not good),
- touches a dead carcass (more than once),
- eats from food from a dead carcass (can we be any further from the law here, no wonder he didn’t tell his parents)
- and seeks revenge. Uh, not the role model of the day.
We know from the test that Samson’s parents were God-fearing Israelites from all their actions.
- They did not want him to marry a Philistine woman.
- They knew that seeing the Lord usually meant death.
- We also know from their reverence for the Lord with the Grain offering (so cool to know all about that now),
- and Samson knew to hide the dead carcass info from them.
God knew that He would raise up these judges. When he fought off 10,000 men with a jaw bone Wasn’t supposed to touch that either), that was said all the way back in Leviticus 26:8. But I also really noticed that whenever Samson did anything of strength it was the Spirit in him that gave him that power. It had nothing to do with him.
At the end of the reading the Lord revives him with water from En Hakkore (Caller’s Spring), and I noticed a reference to Isaiah.
Do you not know?
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint. (Isa 40:29-31
Chapter 10! OUCH! Man these people are a hot mess! What happened to following God? (ahhem, something in my throat)
So we hear the words AGAIN. “Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord” Again they sinned, again they had consequence for their way of living and again they cried out to the Lord…save us. But this time it is different. This time God says….”You made this bed….lie in it!” We cannot just live as we please and then when we need God, pull Him out of our pocket. Chapter 10: Verse 16 was a huge huge verse. It took repenting from their ways to get God to help them. Hmmmmm now there is an idea.
We should make changes in our life that are pleasing to the Lord?? (sarcasm is my favorite talk) I don’t know about you, but this was a HUGE chapter for me. Yes He is always with us, Yes He will pull us up when we cry out to Him, BUT keep living as you are Trish…I may let you wallow in that mess until you really clean up your junk and stop doing some of the stuff you are doing , then I will help you out. (I need a box of band aids…the beating I am getting today is unreal)
The rest of the reading was just incredible, I do find that I have to read really slow and detailed in Judges to fully understand all that I am reading.
Maybe I am sharing too too much this book. But that whole Jephthah/daughter story. WOW. That is me. Maybe you are a better Christian than me BUT I try to make deals all the time. “Dear Lord, I love you and praise you, but if you can just……I will then be a better Christian and……” Uhhh when Moses came down the mountain I didn’t hear any law on the barter trade agreement. God wants us to be the better Christian everyday regardless of blessing, circumstances or disciplines. This was just another reminder that His Holy People were decaying and being polluted by other religions and lack of teachings of God. If Jephthah had been taught all about the True God, he would know that He never wants us to sacrifice our children. Jephthah took the “human vow” more seriously than God’s law. I know a ton of churches that take the Human written law over God’s written word all the time.
I was ahead in my reading and then I get to Chapter 12. I read it. Re Read it. Read Commentaries. Asked Friends. It took me days to fully understand all that was going on. Why He was killing one of the 12 tribes: Ephraim. Why the “S” “SH” language test? It all went back to Chapter 8. They didn’t want to help him out. Then Jephthah wins the battle. Remember this was a group that they were able to keep the plunder and spoils. Of course, the Ephtramites NOW want to be involved. See things have gotten so corrupt, and petty, and greedy that we are now fighting with our own families. They had even lost their “heritage” (language test). Let me give you an example, if I said I was a true southerner, rooted in the state of Tennessee. True to my roots and upbringing. And if you wanted to know if that was true, you might test me a bit. You might say “Yeah?? Trish…Say to me “Let’s talk over coffee”. Well, the moment I said that…my Yankee cover would be blown!
I am thankful to be reading this Bible so I know for myself what is asked of us straight from God, not what is told to us by others. Because everything has become polluted, EXCEPT the Bible.
Just a asterisk note: Jerub Baal is Gideon when you read.
(The parable Jotham told was about the trees represented the brothers while the thorn bush was Abimilech)
I had to read each paragraph twice…not sure what was wrong with me today. 😦
Gideon: Human error. We all do it. You will hear all the time: don’t follow someone, follow God. Man will let you down, God will not. So if we say it or hear it, why are we so shocked when our leaders fall. True isn’t it. Think of all the stories you have heard of great Godly people at churches that have had to come forward and admit huge sins or problems in their life. Gideon was both smart and stupid (like all humans). He said:
But Gideon told them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The LORD will rule over you.” (Judges 8:23)
And in the next sentence gave them “something” to worship. He didn’t mean harm by it, but we need to keep in mind that the Israelites have been living among the wrong people for years, and all they have been taught at the base of the mountain (their ancestors) is eroding and decaying either from lack of information from their parents or from the ways of the people around them.
Yes God used Gidean. Gideon was a great leader and warrior but was he a great follower of the Lord? Was he trusting of the Lord? Was he knowledgeable in God’s word? Did he live it in his home? Was he a great father and husband (to many)? uhhhhhh look at who his son became! We have a HUGE part in what children around us will follow or believe. As adults, it is our Godly job to rear them in the right direction. I say adult and not parent because we all have children somewhere in our lives.
So much life application here in Judges that we all need to think about right now. Have we left sinful people as a point of influence in our life or have we cut out what God wants us to cut out? Are we worshipping things and letting someone or something else lead us and our decisions? like church, books, tv, magazine articles, political leaders, blogs, facebook….we can put a Christian bumper sticker on anything.
Chapter 8-9 were so good. I had a chance to talk to someone about them and to put the story into my own words really was convicting. Pride, jealousy, greed….wow. Retell these chapters to someone you now, it will bless you for sure.
Jehovahshalom: The Lord is Peace (vs.6:24) (Go write it in the Margin of your Bible)
Most of us have heard of Gideon before but are placing him for the first time as a “Judge”. Pretty cool huh.
So here is the scenario, once again the Israelites fall into bad habits and away from the Lord. And like most of us we wait till we hit rock bottom to call out for God to help us. He was always right there. Anyway, Gideon is in a winepress. Just to give you a little note, threshing wheat is usually done on a mountain top, where the wind can aid the process but because of their oppression they were hiding in caves and dens so he was forced to work in a hole.
What I really love about Gideon was how much I relate to him. He is honest. “if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us?
God’s response: Get yourself out of the hole and do something about it!
But just to make sure we all knew that battles are won not by man, but from God, he trimmed down Gideon’s army from 32,000 to 300 just to show that very fact!
Last, I am probably not alone here but the whole “testing” God gave me mixed emotions at first. God knows us and I really do think that if we ask him for guidance or a sign He will. The problem usually is do we sit still enough, or do we spend enough time with Him to hear or see the response?
Remember, Gideon does not have the guidance of the Holy Spirit or the Bible. So I understand why he may be a little apprehensive about “knowing” if God is right there with him. We, on the other hand, if we have Christ in us, have a guider,have a voice inside us that can comfort us in time of question.
Gideon was testing the answer,not the God.
Chapter 3:6? I was like “Noooooooo” When we get into relationships with non-believers or people who don’t follow God, our faith will decay. Trust me, I was the decayor to many!
Sin: Idolatry. Baals and Asherah were the most worshipped gods in Canaan. So God oppressed them for only 8 years to discipline them. Then God raised up a good man named Othniel. Knowing the family line of Othniel (Caleb’s brother) we can assume that he was a faithful and obedient man that the Lord could depend on. God used him to save them. God is always there to pull us out of the pit we dig for ourselves.
Ehud (means Deliverer)
Yuck, do you know who these people are they are with? Moabites, Ammonites and Amalekites?
- Moabites and the Ammonites were both descendants of Lot. Remember him? Sodom and Gomorrah.
- The Amalekites were descendants of Esau (Arab) They were nomadic and disgusting people. They worshipped other gods, using male and female prostitution as a religious device and they thought throwing their first-born babies into a fire would satisfy Molech, a false god. Ehud catches the fat man off guard using a left hand (unexpected) stab.
Kills 600 with a tool to guide ox. Amazing what God can do, isn’t it?
“I’m every woman, anything you want done baby…”. Hee ha snort. I loved this story, God can use anyone to accomplish His job. Men, donkeys, prostitutes, woman, judges, me, you. But this story has 2 woman who really take the bull by the horns! First, Barak…hmmmmm how can we remember this name? Barak…weak in Faith? Strong women in his life? ….Barak……Oh well, can’t think of a way to remember this. Anyway, Deborah and Jael, two woman who know how to get a job done. Wonder twin powers…activate!
The song of Deborah: There have been several times so far that after God has done something miraculous that the Israelites stop and Praise God in Song. Like remember right after the parting of the Red sea, they had The Song of Moses , the song wasn’t to praise Moses it was to praise God for their victory. The Song of Deborah is the same thing. The battle they just fought was won because the Lord handed it to them. He won the war for them by fighting with them:
From the heavens the stars fought,
from their courses they fought against Sisera.
The river Kishon swept them away,
the age-old river, the river Kishon.
March on, my soul; be strong!
Then thundered the horses’ hoofs—
galloping, galloping go his mighty steeds.
Then the land had peace forty years.
- Incomplete conquest of the land
- The angel of the Lord of Bokim
- Disobedience and defeat
Let’s go back for a minute to Deuteronomy chapter 7. It’s important.
When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations….. and when the LORD your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally . Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy. Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, for they will turn your sons away from following me to serve other gods, and the LORD’s anger will burn against you and will quickly destroy you. This is what you are to do to them: Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones, cut down their Asherah poles and burn their idols in the fire. For you are a people holy to the LORD your God.
So as we get into Judges, just in these first two chapters I am like “Are you Kidding me??” God is so specific and clear (just as He is today) and yet we all don’t listen. We do it half His way, half our way. Joshua is no longer with them, but that begs the question: Were they following Joshua or God?
Chapter 1 is a chapter of failure. Read the above scripture and you will see that they did not obey. You may have noticed that some of this was an overlap read of Joshua, but that is ok, we needed the reminder of how Othniel fits into the picture since he will be one of our Judges. These people do sin and God will allow them to become oppressed in order to get them to repent. The part that bothered me the most I guess was in Chapter 2
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. (Judges 2:10)
All throughout the first 5 books, we are told tell our children, to remember, to impress it upon them….and yet they didn’t. It is OUR job to tell God’s story, so that others make the right decisions.
If you are anything like me I know this popped out at you: Because this nation has violated the covenant that I laid down for their forefathers and has not listened to me, I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations Joshua left when he died. I will use them to test Israel and see whether they will keep the way of the LORD and walk in it as their forefathers did.”
May I just take a minute to encourage you to ASK questions on this blog. We have consumed a ton of information and we are hearing places, names, occasions, that may sound familiar, but uncertain. Please feel free to ask. There are also a number of people that are just jumping in…ask about past readings, it will be good for everyone.
Judges is an 8 day read.
So the Hebrew nation is organized, faithful, strong and assembled. They have taken the land that God has handed them. They are a Theocracy meaning God is their leader. Joshua has died and they are left to their own. Now what?
This book covers a time span of around 400 years. There are Judges that are appointed to raise up and save the people. The Judges were warriors, priests, prophets. We will see the people go from joy, victory, progress, faith and freedom to cries, defeat, unbelief and servitude.
The 12 Judges are: Othniel (we have already read about him in Joshua), Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah (go Girl), Gideon, Tola, Jair, Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon, and Samson. (and yes you will be quizzed at the end of the chapter!)
In Judges, you will see the people compromise and turn away. Get defeated and oppressed. However, they will repent and God will raise up heroes to deliver them.
I completely look forward to the next 8 days of Judges.
The focus of these books in the Bible is never the people, but God.