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11/25/2016 10:12 am  #1


The Judges
All the judges were themselves limited in their capabilities. In fact, each one seemed to have some defect and handicap. Judges mentions 12 judges, 6 of whom have a detailed account of their activities.

Commentators say it is likely that there were more than 12 judges, but that the number 12 is symbolic.

Regional Focus
Due to the natural boundaries and growing focus on local concerns, Israel became more fragmented and less united. The judges exercised their ministry for the most part in a local and restricted area. Joshua focused on the united effort to settle the land. In Judges we look at the more individual tribes and regional efforts. 

The record is not chronological or continuous but rather a spotty account of local judges in limited sections of the nation. 

Backsliding — and the amazing grace of God in recovering and restoring. 

Lessons to Learn
Judges really shows the insufficiency of the law. Israel could not stay faithful to God by just having the law to follow even after having heard of God’s great works, and in some cases seeing His mighty works.  

It highlights the weakness and sinfulness of our sin nature and the inability to be righteous on our own. This is why we needed a Savior. This is why Christ’s sacrifice was vital. 

For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:3-4



11/25/2016 10:33 am  #2

Re: Judges

Week of November 28
This Week’s Reading Assignment
S.O.A.K. any verse of your choosing.

Reading: Judges 1
Verse of the Day: Judges 1:2
Good Morning Girls: Introduction to the Week
Optional GMG Discussion Question: Manasseh, Ephraim, Zebulan, Asher and Naphtali failed to drive the inhabitants off their land as they were commanded. Name a time when you only partially did what God laid on your heart. How did that situation turn out?

Reading: Judges 2
Verse of the Day: Judges 2:10
Optional GMG Discussion Question: Israel turned their backs on God and began to seek out new gods. Is there something in your own life that you seem to seek out more than God?

Reading: Judges 3
Verse of the Day: Judges 3:7
Optional GMG Discussion Question: Israel was tested to see if they would obey God’s commandments. Each time they failed the test. Have you been tested in your Christian walk lately? In what ways?

Reading: Judges 4
Verse of the Day: Judges 4:14
Optional GMG Discussion Question: Barak didn’t want to move forward with the plan God had already laid out for him without Deborah. Name a time when you have been too afraid or unwilling to do what God has asked of you because you didn’t want to do it alone?

Reading: Judges 5
Verse of the Day: Judges 5:31
Good Morning Girls: Devotional and Video
Optional GMG Discussion Question: Deborah and Barak’s song tells us the people offered themselves willingly. Do you offer yourself up willingly for God or do you struggle with giving over complete control?

     Thread Starter

11/27/2016 9:32 pm  #3

Re: Judges

Judges 1 

1:1 After the death of Joshua, the people of Israel inquired of the LORD, "Who shall go up first for us against the Canaanites, to fight against them?" 

Observation: Initially they turned to God.
Do I turn to God only when I don’t know what to do? If there is a strong or charismatic leader, do we just fall in line with them without seeking God? Or do we just do whatever comes to our mind first?
Sometimes it is easy in the daily, mundane, or seemingly inconsequential things to just act without even thinking to seek and ask God what He wants us to do and how He wants us to act.
I am not suggestion seeking if I should make meatloaf when I go to store and find out they are out of pre-cooked chicken. Although that is fine, especially if you are stressed or pressed for time to ask God what should I do. But, in general, I am not suggestion that we must seek God’s will about whether to have baked chicken or veggi pasta.
But, I do think a lot of things, how should I respond to my contractor, should I accept this assignment, should I commit to this activity? Sometimes we think these are “unspiritual” and so inconsequential, but they can impact our life and our priorities.
It is easy for me to just act, just decide. So a good lesson learned is to inquire of God.

1:2 The LORD said, "Judah shall go up; behold, I have given the land into his hand." 

Judah was the de facto first born after that status had been stripped from Reuben for coming in to his father’s wife, and Simeon and Levi for their corrupt cruelty.

When Israel blessed his sons before his death he said several things about Judah:
     Judah, your brothers shall praise you; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father's sons shall bow down before you.
     Judah is a lion's cub; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He stooped down; he crouched as a lion and as a lioness; who dares rouse him?
      The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples. Genesis 49:8-12
1) Judah was the line of David and the Messiah, Jesus. Judah is called the lion. This is why Jesus is referred to as the Lion of Judah.
2) Judah’s name means “praise.”
This next statement is not necessarily theology, and I can’t off the top of my head point to it being taught specifically in the Bible.
We need to lead our spiritual battles with praise. “Send Judah First” is a popular older Christian song. Start with praise in our attempts to win our spiritual battles.
1:6-7 Adoni-bezek fled, but they pursued him and caught him and cut off his thumbs and his big toes. And Adoni-bezek said, "Seventy kings with their thumbs and their big toes cut off used to pick up scraps under my table. As I have done, so God has repaid me." And they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died there. 

This is not necessarily an endorsement of this practice by God. It prevented the king from fighting or fleeing. Apparently this was fairly typical because Adoni-bezek himself did it. There is no indication that Israel went on to mistreat Adoni-bezek by making him pick up scraps from the floor as he had done to others.
1:19 And the LORD was with Judah, and he took possession of the hill country, but he could not drive out the inhabitants of the plain because they had chariots of iron.
1:21 But the people of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites who lived in Jerusalem, so the Jebusites have lived with the people of Benjamin in Jerusalem to this day.

1:27 Manasseh did not drive out the inhabitants…… for the Canaanites persisted in dwelling in that land.
1:28 When Israel grew strong, they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but did not drive them out completely.
1:34 The Amorites pressed the people of Dan back into the hill country, for they did not allow them to come down to the plain.
1:35 The Amorites persisted in dwelling in Mount Heres, in Aijalon, and in Shaalbim, but the hand of the house of Joseph rested heavily on them, and they became subject to forced labor.

These are challenging and puzzling verses. Did the people choose not to drive them out when is says they did not, or were they unable to? When it says they could not, why? Did not God go with them and give them the ability? Then why could not they? Was it because they lacked faith or were somehow not acting as God desired or was it not God’s timing in some way? So, I had to study on this.
Deuteronomy 7:22 The LORD your God will clear away these nations before you little by little. You may not make an end of them at once, lest the wild beasts grow too numerous for you.
OK, so God always planed a gradual, phased conquering. This could explain verse 19 when it says God was with Judah and we had seen Judah act faithfully, that it was not God’s timing in that instance.
But this is not a complete explanation of the fact that they never did drive all the Canaanites out completely. Verse 21 says they lived there to this day, the day this book was written which was probably during the times of kings.
Also, it does not appear that they always lacked the power to drive them out because they conquered them and were strong enough to enslave them.
There appears to me to be an element of compromise and disobedience.
Lack of Faith
They in some cases may have lacked faith and been fearful, like when the people of Joshua were intimidated by the Canaanites in Joshua 17:16.
Now, even faithful people can be fearful when they see the barriers and threats before them. But we must have faith to trust God to do His will regardless of what barriers we see. Note, I said His will, not necessarily things that are easy or pleasing to us or match our idea about how things should work out.

We fall into this trap when we focus on our own strength and ability.
Compromise and Disobedience
They did not do all that God wanted them to do, but chose close enough. They were strong but did not drive them out and instead used them for slave labor. God said to do x, but I will do y, it is close enough and I will get more use out of y and it is easier.

Faith and Faithfulness
We need to have spiritual eyes to see what God desires and not get focused on our problems or barriers. We see with our natural eyes. We need to be people who boldly pursue God’s agenda and purposes.
Being more responsible with my time so I can do more work for the kingdom. Stay in the present and not spend so much time thinking about what ifs so I can stay present and productive for making a difference today for God and not living in the fictional future.
Compromise and Disobedience
We compromise by not wanting to spend the extra effort to do all that God desires. We want a “c” and not a 100%. We focus on our own priorities, desires, and pleasures. We do what we want to do.
I can apply this by taking the time each morning to think about what God really wants me to do with my life and God’s priorities. Also throughout the day I can work on being more mindful of God’s will and not just going on autopilot in accomplishing all the things that are important to me.

Primary Lesson Learned
For me, the overriding lesson was that they did not use the power God had given them to conquer, but lived in defeat.
Wow! Do we take the power God has given us? The Holy Spirit power IN us is the same power that conquered death and resurrected Jesus. The word used for this power is the root word from which we get the word “dynamite.” We have the explosive power of the Spirit of God living IN us.
Do we live in that power to overcome sin, unbelief, compromise, and complacency in our lives or do we live in spiritual defeat?
God has given us the power to live Holy before Him and as people transformed into the image of Christ. Do we take up that power and fight with it?

     Thread Starter

11/29/2016 11:12 am  #4

Re: Judges

Judges 2

2:2 and you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall break down their altars.' But you have not obeyed my voice. What is this you have done?
There it is; so, a reason they were not able to drive out the Canaanites was disobedience.
See verses 20-21 also:
So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he said, "Because this people has transgressed my covenant that I commanded their fathers and have not obeyed my voice, I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations that Joshua left when he died,
2:3 So now I say, I will not drive them out before you, but they shall become thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare to you."
There was a permanent consequence for their sin; they will always live with them as enemies to cause trouble and to be a stumbling block to them.
God always forgives our sins. For those of us who are believers, He does not place us under His wrath; we do not have the wrath or anger of God against us because God poured out His wrath on Christ. This is the cup that Christ drank. Other people had been crucified before, but the cup Christ wanted to have pass was the cup of God’s wrath. Christ drank the whole of God’s wrath on all mankind and since He took God’s wrath upon Himself, those who trust in Christ do not have to experience the wrath.
Colossians 3:6-7 Because of these things (the sin listed in verse 5) the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.
We once walked in God’s wrath, but not anymore.
However, sometimes our sin, although forgiven leaves a consequence in our lives. There can be residual consequences that we live with, that cause temptation and are a stumbling block to us.
2:11-19 Shows the apostasy cycle

(from J. Vernon McGee and John MacArthur)

1) Apostasy
       a. Did Evil
       b. Forsook God
       c. Followed own way (pleasure)

2) Oppression
       a. Sold into slavery (depression and war)
       b. Slavery
       c. Servitude

3) Supplication
       a. Cried to God
       b. Turned to God
       c. Repented

4) Deliverance
       a. Judges raised up
       b. Delivered
       c. Served God

2:11,13 And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and served the Baals. They abandoned the LORD and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth.
The Canaanites believed that earthly prosperity, crops, livestock, etc., were dependent on the sexual vitality of the divine world. So, their religion included significant sexual immorality to increase the sexual potency of the gods.
Scripture 2:14-15
So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he gave them over to plunderers, who plundered them. And he sold them into the hand of their surrounding enemies, so that they could no longer withstand their enemies. Whenever they marched out, the hand of the LORD was against them for harm, as the LORD had warned, and as the LORD had sworn to them. And they were in terrible distress.
Because of their unfaithfulness, God was not with them and did not give them His strength and power. In fact, He actively worked against them. He was using the Canaanites to chastise Israel, to discipline them so that they would return to Him in obedience.
Scripture 2:16,18
Then the LORD raised up judges, who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them.
Whenever the LORD raised up judges for them, the LORD was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge. For the LORD was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them.

We see God giving undeserved, unmerited, mercy.
This is the same that He gives to us. He gave Christ Jesus to deliver us. We did not deserve this sacrifice or earn it because we are good people. It was God’s giving us unmerited mercy and grace, unearned and undeserved. Praise God.
Scripture 2:17,19
Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they whored after other gods and bowed down to them. They soon turned aside from the way in which their fathers had walked, who had obeyed the commandments of the LORD, and they did not do so.
But whenever the judge died, they turned back and were more corrupt than their fathers, going after other gods, serving them and bowing down to them. They did not drop any of their practices or their stubborn ways.
They did not stop any of their practices and were stubborn in insisting on their own way.
That is the same reason people don’t serve God today. Or, if they claim to be believers, they are weak or carnal or cultural Christians. It is because they will not cease from going their own way and won’t just unconditionally obey God; they are stubborn and self-willed.
Scripture 2:21-22
I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations that Joshua left when he died, in order to test Israel by them, whether they will take care to walk in the way of the LORD as their fathers did, or not."
God wanted to see if they will choose Him over other gods and over their own pleasure.
It is easier to serve God in an isolated convent, although one would still have to contend with the purity of one’s mind, than living in a sinful society. One must daily choose to serve God over pleasure or the world.
True love and faithfulness requires the ability to make a choice, not just by default.

Last edited by TBG (11/29/2016 11:20 am)

     Thread Starter

11/30/2016 12:03 pm  #5

Re: Judges

Judges 3
3:2 It was only in order that the generations of the people of Israel might know war, to teach war to those who had not known it before.
Israel needed to fight battles to stay strong and to keep their skills up, so they could protect themselves in the future.
We have to fight battles to gain strength and skills as well. This is so hard to accept.
I would not say that I am fighting a battle, per say, but I am going through a bit of uncertainty, change, and energy draining times.
But, I need to go through this to learn to fully surrender control and to not try to orchestrate so much of my life. I need, as Paul said, to learn the secret of being content in all circumstances and to not pin my hopes and dreams on that which I desire. I need not to live for some future joy, but to accept what God has given me today and not yearn for tomorrow.
3:4 They were for the testing of Israel, to know whether Israel would obey the commandments of the LORD, which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.

Testing reveals our character, not to God, because God knows, but to ourselves in order to bring us to repentance or to encourage us in the surety of God working in us.
Also, going through the test strengthens us and builds godly character in us and makes us useful to work for God’s kingdom.
3:6 And their daughters they took to themselves for wives, and their own daughters they gave to their sons, and they served their gods.

This is further disobedience.
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 children away from following me to serve other gods, and the LORD’s anger will burn against you and will quickly destroy you. Deuteronomy 7:3-4
Intermarriage will draw Israel into the Canaanite culture and turn them away from God. It was important to preserve Israel’s godly lineage and legacy to preserve a line for the Messiah and God’s plan for eternity.
Verse 6 tells us that this disobedience did indeed lead to idolatry. They were so emotionally intimate and bonded that their spouse held great influence over them.
Look at the warning in Deuteronomy, “the Lord’s anger will burn against you and destroy you.” Wow! You think that would have instilled enough fear to keep them from doing this.
As Israel ignored God’s warning, we see that today as well. People always think that consequences and punishment won’t come and they can get away with rejecting God.
Also, we can get too emotionally attached to things that wield undue influence in us? What are those things you are attached to that are negatively influencing us? Do we intermix too much with things that are not consistent with God’s standards and values, that lead us to idolatry: worship of ourselves, pleasure, others, money, image, reputation, accolades, acceptance, etc.? These things can be things such as media (movies, TV, music, Internet), people, places, groups and associations, and possibly even some churches.
What are we latching onto that we need to divorce and cut off? It may not even be something negative, like Internet. But if it is consuming your time and preventing you from being effective for God’s work, you need to cut it off.
Scripture 3:7-9
We see the apostasy cycle again here, and then later with Ehud: did evil (7), sold to enemies (8), cried out (9), delivered (9), rest (11).
Scripture 3:9
But when the people of Israel cried out to the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer for the people of Israel, who saved them, Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother.

Caleb’s parents left a godly legacy. We see this in Caleb’s continued faith and strength and now with his brother Othniel.
We need to be intentional about raising up a godly legacy even if we are not parents in how we invest in the lives of others, even other adults.
3:10 The Spirit of the LORD was upon him, and he judged Israel. He went out to war, and the LORD gave Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand. And his hand prevailed over Cushan-rishathaim.

The Spirit “came upon him.”
As New Testament believers we always have the indwelling of the Spirit. In the Old Testament, before the work of Christ, the Spirit came upon people temporarily to empower them for work.
The Spirit empowers us at all times if we don’t quench His leading. When we look at what Othniel does, we should realize that God can use us to do things just as great as this.
How does God want to us you today to speak truth and lead others into deliverance?
3:28 And he said to them, "Follow after me, for the LORD has given your enemies the Moabites into your hand."

The fact that it is the Moabites who are oppressing Israel will be interesting to note as we study the book of Ruth.
3:31 After him was Shamgar the son of Anath, who killed 600 of the Philistines with an oxgoad, and he also saved Israel.

Some commentators think that Shamgar was not an Israelite because there is no mention of his tribe.
This should encourage us to know that there are not special classes of people and no special criteria we have to meet to be used by Him: pastor, education, extrovert, etc. No, God uses all those who trust and fear Him and who choose to serve Him with their whole heart.
Primary Lesson Learned
May I be as bold as Othniel!
May I

  • Allow the Spirit to control and influence me
  • Be brave to act when God directs
  • Fight God’s enemies knowing that His enemies are not other people. His enemies are not of the flesh and blood, but power and principalities. This calls for bold, relentless, and committed prayer. We fight and wrestle in prayer, not for our desires or needs, or even those of our family and friends, but for God’s kingdom and for those things that raise themselves up against God to fail.
  • Accept what God has given me and celebrate today. Grow spiritually in the journey, waiting and by living in the present.

     Thread Starter

12/01/2016 6:08 pm  #6

Re: Judges

Judges 4
4:6 She sent and summoned Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh-naphtali and said to him, "Has not the LORD, the God of Israel, commanded you, 'Go, gather your men at Mount Tabor, taking 10,000 from the people of Naphtali and the people of Zebulun.

It seems as if he already knew that God had called him, yet was not acting on it until Deborah called him out on it.
It is easy to judge, yet, Barak is in the hall of faith, Hebrews 11. God is so gracious to us to take our little faith and our little response and use it for His purpose.
4:8 Barak said to her, "If you will go with me, I will go, but if you will not go with me, I will not go."
It seems to me like Barak was trusting in her more than God. As if since she was the prophetess that it was really she who had the ability to ensure the victory or that she had to be with him in order for God to be with him.
He was actually going to ignore God’s clear message to him if he did not get her to come with him as a security.
We can see this today as well where it seems people follow men, preacher, instead of God. Or they give the person credit for the miracles God has done.
This also can cause people to fall away from the faith when the person they were following fails. Because they put their trust in the person, not God. So when the person fails, their faith fails.
Many people don’t go to church because they feel hurt about how some people in the church acted.
As far as needed Debora for security, sometimes we don’t “feel” God’s presence and we feel that we need someone else to be with us to give us courage to act. I am not making a value judgement on this. God is always with us, even when we don’t feel it and we should find that our trust in God is enough. However, the Bible clearly shows that we are also supposed to be the hands of God on this earth and encourage and support each other. So, it is valid to need, or at least to want, other people to come along side you and give you courage. But, if not, let us pray that we can dig deep and find our trust in God is sufficient even when we can’t “feel” Him here.
4:9 And she said, "I will surely go with you. Nevertheless, the road on which you are going will not lead to your glory, for the LORD will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman."
His hesitation to obey unconditionally and his lack of faith meant that he would not get the credit for this achievement.
God is so gracious to us and showers on us blessings we don’t deserve and can never merit. Yet, sometimes our lack of faithfulness and obedience can cause us to have less than God’s best for our life.
Is there some area of disobedience in my life, or I am being unfaithful in doing what God has called me to do? If so, why? Do I think my life will be better by doing it my way? By not fully trusting and serving God in all that He has commanded or placed on our hearts, we are settling for less than God’s best in our lives.

Last edited by TBG (12/06/2016 10:35 am)

     Thread Starter

12/05/2016 9:23 am  #7

Re: Judges

Week of December 5
This Week’s Reading Assignment
S.O.A.K. any verse of your choosing.

Reading: Judges 6
Verse of the Day: Judges 6:23
Good Morning Girls: Introduction to the Week
Optional GMG Discussion Question: Gideon asked God to show him a sign that God was truly wanting him to go into battle for His people. Name a time, when you have questioned God. What was His response to you?

Reading: Judges 7
Verse of the Day: Judges 7:15
Optional GMG Discussion Question: God can make great things happen even out of the smallest of things. He does this to remind us that He is with us. How does this bring encouragement to you today and the situations you are facing?

Reading: Judges 8
Verse of the Day: Judges 8:23
Optional GMG Discussion Question: Even after all God had done, the people still longed for a leader. Gideon refused, reminding them that God alone was their ruler. In what ways do you find it hard to let God be the ruler of your life?

Reading: Judges 9
Verse of the Day: Judges 9:10
Optional GMG Discussion Question: Abimelech rose up over God’s people using power and influence. Yet, in the end, God caused him to fail. This reminds us that God is always in control. How does this bring you comfort today?

Reading: Judges 10
Verse of the Day: Judges 10:10
Good Morning Girls: Devotional and Video
Optional GMG Discussion Question: Once again, Israel was overtaken because they had turned their backs on God and instead chose to worship false gods. Has God ever revealed to you, that you were placing other gods before Him?

     Thread Starter

12/06/2016 11:13 am  #8

Re: Judges

Judges 6

4:8-10 the LORD sent a prophet to the people of Israel. And he said to them, "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: I led you up from Egypt and brought you out of the house of bondage. And I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all who oppressed you, and drove them out before you and gave you their land. And I said to you, 'I am the LORD your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell.' But you have not obeyed my voice."

The Lord responded to their cry. This is incredible patience and love. Yes, God will pour out His wrath, but look at how slow He is to anger and how He continually shows Israel mercy and grace.
God shows us His unmerited favor because it is in His character to be merciful. God is merciful in the face of our unfaithfulness.
This also reminds u of how we should treat others. We get mad when someone mistreats us. But as God is slow to wrath, we should also be slow to wrath and choose to show mercy, even when someone does not deserve it, just as God has shown us mercy.
We see the parable of the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18. The servant owed his master more money than he could ever repay, yet the master forgave him. Then that servant went out and threw another servant in prison for not repaying him some tiny amount.
This is what we are like if we don’t overlook offense and show mercy. God has shown us mercy for so much worse of an offense against Him. The least we can do is to be merciful to others for their offense against us which is much less than our sin against God.
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:19-20
Our anger, does not bring about God’s righteous purpose in our lives, our hearts, or in the other person. Our anger just destroys and tears down.
The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression. Proverbs 19:11
6:12 And the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, "The LORD is with you, O mighty man of valor."

God saw him as He was creating him to be, not as he was in the flesh.
I love this. God sees as He is creating us to be, in His Son. We look at our weakness, our lack, and our inability. But we should see ourselves how God sees us. He will do a work in us to transform us into His image and be used for His purpose, to bring about His will.
We must trust that God is at work in us to use us according to the power of His Spirit if we are His disciples and if we seek to serve Him as Lord of our lives.
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6

6:13And Gideon said to him, "Please, sir, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, 'Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?' But now the LORD has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian."

Gideon seems to think that is was God who was unfaithful. He does not appreciate that it was Israel who left the protection of God.
Likewise, we sin and move out from under God’s will then get upset about the fact that God is not delivering us from the pain and suffering we have brought onto ourselves. We get upset about the fact that God is not working in our lives.
6:15 And he said to him, "Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house."

He understood that he did not have the ability and he saw his own weakness. What he did not see, was that God’s strength could work through him.
We don’t have the strength to complete the task God has given us. Maybe we need to be given impossible tasks so that we can know it is God’s work and not ours and God will be glorified and we will not be lifted up- in pride.
6:23-24 But the LORD said to him, "Peace be to you. Do not fear; you shall not die." Then Gideon built an altar there to the LORD and called it, The LORD Is Peace. To this day it still stands at Ophrah, which belongs to the Abiezrites.

He was overwhelmed when he realized he had been in the presence of God and was fearful of God’s great Holiness that he in his sinfulness would be consumed. He feared God.
He showed his reverence to God in building an altar to commemorate God’s presence and to worship Him.
I think it is so easy for us to minimize and overlook the fact that we have encountered God. That God came and dwelt among us, and that God now lives within us. Do we take this for granted? Or does it overwhelm us with a sense of reverence and awe?
How would things be different if I lived every minute of my life with a sense of reverence at the fact that God’s presence was in me?
Do we commemorate God’s work in our lives? Do we respond in worship to His works and actually set aside reminders to us of His work and reminders to ourselves of the worship He is rightly owed?
6:27 So Gideon took ten men of his servants and did as the LORD had told him. But because he was too afraid of his family and the men of the town to do it by day, he did it by night.

He still thought that he was going to have to work on his own strength and that God would not overcome for him. But to his credit, he obeyed God even though he was afraid and it was risking his life.
How often do we want to shrink from obedience because we fear man? Gideon was afraid, but He obeyed anyway.

6:29 And they said to one another, "Who has done this thing?" And after they had searched and inquired, they said, "Gideon the son of Joash has done this thing."

Although they had cried to God for deliverance, they were still worshiping Baal. They wanted God to fix things, but they did not want to honor and worship Him.
We see this all the time today. Some tragedy or crises hits and people call out to God, but they don’t actually want to worship and honor Him.
Do we just treat God like a genie? We want Him to fix everything in our lives, but we don’t want to actually place Him on the throne of our lives, because we are too busy ruling our own lives. We don’t honor Him and worship Him, and seek Him.
6:34 But the Spirit of the LORD clothed Gideon, and he sounded the trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called out to follow him.

Gideon was obedient and God responded by filling him with the Holy Spirit. Now we see that Gideon becomes much bolder.
We are responsible for acting on what we know. If we are obedient in the little, we know to do, God will empower us to do more. If we are faithful in little things, we will be faithful in large ones. Luke 16:10
We can have grandiose plans about what we want to do or how we want God to use us, but are we even being faithful to where God has us now?
6:37 behold, I am laying a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece alone, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said."

He still needed reassurance. Note, God did not express anger at him for seeking reassurance.
Even though we have the Spirit in us, sometime we still seek reassurance of God’s will. Sometimes that is confirmed through the words of others or through circumstances.

Last edited by TBG (12/06/2016 11:42 am)

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12/06/2016 1:04 pm  #9

Re: Judges

Judges 7
It for us to allow God to bring His enemies low and to fight the battles He has laid out.
7:2 The LORD said to Gideon, "The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, 'My own hand has saved me.'

God wanted it to be clear that the victory could not have possibly been accomplished through might. He wanted it to be obvious that it was the miraculous work of His hand that delivered. This would hopefully ensure that the people would look to Him as their deliverer and provider.
Do we remember to acknowledge that it is God who gives us the victory and it is the Lord that has accomplished His great work in our lives and not us?
7:10-11 But if you are afraid to go down, go down to the camp with Purah your servant. And you shall hear what they say, and afterward your hands shall be strengthened to go down against the camp." Then he went down with Purah his servant to the outposts of the armed men who were in the camp.

Again, God was gracious to offer encouragement and assurance.
What encouragement and assurance do we have today? The Word of God: we have God’s entire message to us in entirety. The Holy Spirit: we have His Spirit living inside of us and He has given us His nature to take over and subdue our sinful nature. His Spirit also allows us to understand His purpose and to understand His Word. We also have other people to encourage us and sometimes circumstances to assure us.
7:15 As soon as Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped. And he returned to the camp of Israel and said, "Arise, for the LORD has given the host of Midian into your hand."

Wow, I love this response. He did not celebrate or get puffed up that he was going to win, but worshiped. Acknowledged God’s majesty.
Worship - to give respect to a superior, acknowledge the worth of another, respectful submission or yielding to the judgment, respectful regard – esteem, to think highly of, displaying deep respect tinged with awe
When we see God working in our lives, do we just get excited about what is being done? Do we pat ourselves on the back about how awesome we are? Do we revel in His love for us? Or do we worship? Do we really show God our respect and regard for His worth and His power? Do we acknowledge His majesty?
7:22 When they blew the 300 trumpets, the LORD set every man's sword against his comrade and against all the army. And the army fled as far as Beth-shittah toward Zererah, as far as the border of Abel-meholah, by Tabbath.

They panicked. They were already worried about all they had heard about Israel’s God and then this Gideon guy who had the never to raise an army against them. Then, while they were sleeping, there is a sudden loud noise and lights all around and in the panic and confusion they did not realize they were fighting themselves and killing each other.

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12/07/2016 9:55 am  #10

Re: Judges

Judges 8
8:1-2 Then the men of Ephraim said to him, "What is this that you have done to us, not to call us when you went to fight against Midian?" And they accused him fiercely. And he said to them, "What have I done now in comparison with you? Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the grape harvest of Abiezer?

Ephraim spoke either prideful, they wanted to be a part of it or wanted to be important, or they were offended, hurt that Gideon did not ask them, slighted, felt it was a statement about their worth, value, or respect. They accused him instead of trying to understand or asking about why, they assigned motives and assumed circumstances.
Gideon references gleaning. This is the act of coming through the vineyard after the main harvest to get whatever is left.
Gideon responds by saying he has done nothing compared to what Ephraim did. Getting the princes was far more impressive and important than anything he did.
What humility. He that totally diffused the situation by not being defensive. He did not defend his honor, or make sure everyone knew how impressive, and honorable he was, or how challenging it was to do what he had accomplished.

And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. Matthew 23:12
We need to choose not to be offended. I will quote again:
The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression. Proverbs 19:11
If we are people of judgment or wisdom, we will choose to overlook transgressions. We should be like Gideon. We don’t need to defend our honor or make sure everyone understands how accomplished and impressive we are.
We should also assume the best possible interpretation of people’s motives and actions. While I don’t always get things right, I will share an example where I did properly implement this.
A neighbor was blowing leaves in our yard and someone else said to me that why should the leaves in my yard bother them and implied they were blowing them because they annoyed that I did not. But I choose to assign the best motive to them and said, maybe they were just out blowing their leaves and just decided it was easy enough to blow mine too and were being nice. So instead of seeing a slight or an offense, I choose to assign the best possible interpretation to their motives.
8:6-9  And the officials of Succoth said, "Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in your hand, that we should give bread to your army?" So Gideon said, "Well then, when the LORD has given Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, I will flail your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers." And from there he went up to Penuel, and spoke to them in the same way, and the men of Penuel answered him as the men of Succoth had answered. And he said to the men of Penuel, "When I come again in peace, I will break down this tower."

My Bible commentary indicates that these were Israelites living in these cities. This one point makes this narrative make a lot more sense.
Gideon asked nicely of his brothers, fellow Israelites, to help. They could have responded nicely. Even if they could not help him or were concerned about helping, they could have appropriately expressed their reasons or concerns. It sounds like they were deriding Gideon, saying he has not proven himself and if can actually do anything then come back and see them. They were so disrespectful and harsh in their response.
They also had an obligation to help as God had commanded the Israelites to fight.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1. And throughout Proverbs we study how a wise person watches what they say, and how they say it.
People can be lazy and not want to help others when we have an obligation to do so. Then they get defensive because we don’t want to help and speak in a snarky manner.
We need to be people that meet our obligations and people who respond to those in need.
8:16-17 And he took the elders of the city, and he took thorns of the wilderness and briers and with them taught the men of Succoth a lesson. And he broke down the tower of Penuel and killed the men of the city.

This seems like cruel and harsh punishment. But since they were Israelites, they had not offended Gideon, but had disobeyed God. They knew that God called them to drive out all the inhabitants and to show mercy to their brothers. We saw in the law the great lengths God went to in order to keep fairness among the Israelites to preserve unity.
8:22 Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, "Rule over us, you and your son and your grandson also, for you have saved us from the hand of Midian."

They were always seeking something of the world to honor and follow. They still did not want to follow and honor God, just as in the last chapter where they were calling out to God for deliverance at the same time as worshiping Baal.
They turn so quickly from God in verse 33 because they never really turned to Him in the first place.
We cannot have a real relationship with God if we come to God for things. For salvation, for peace, for answers to prayer, for a better life.
No, we must come to God because the Holy Spirit has opened our eyes for us to truly see His majesty, His Holiness, His worthiness, His rightful sovereignty that gives Him absolute authority and where our reasonable response is obedience, faithfulness and love.
When we understand how high God is and how low we are, we respond with appropriate worship and devotion. But when we are blinded by the things we want and by our desires and value ourselves over God, we come to Him half-heartedly and insincerely to get what He can give us.
8:23 Gideon said to them, "I will not rule over you, and my son will not rule over you; the LORD will rule over you."

Again, Gideon stays humble. He knows it was not Him, but God. He was not tempted to take God’s glory for himself.
This can be a great temptation when God uses us or gives us a talent. Do we seek glory for ourselves or for God? Do we want God to be gloried in what we do, or do we want ourselves to be admired and elevated?
8:27 And Gideon made an ephod of it and put it in his city, in Ophrah. And all Israel whored after it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and to his family.

I first thought, why did he do this? Was he just trying to commemorate the battle and the people wrongly worshiped it, or did he do this to give them something to worship?
John MacArthur states that this was a breastplate that he created to signify civil rule, not priestly rule. MacArthur feels Gideon had not evil intent. He comes to this conclusion by looking at the following verses. Verse 28 says the land had rest, which is the pattern when they were right with God. Verse 33 indicates that it was after Gideon’s death that they started worshiping idols. In verse 35, God says Gideon did good. 

I also noted that Gideon had just told them in verse 23 to worship the Lord, so it would be illogical for him to turn around and create an idol. So, I think MacArthur’s interpretation was probably correct.
It still seems as if this was an unwise decision because it was a snare to Israel and to Gideon’s family.

Last edited by TBG (12/07/2016 9:56 am)

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