Saturday, January 27, 2024

January 27, 2024

Abimelech was one of Gideon’s sons through his maidservant. He decides to be king since he is one of Gideon’s sons. He convinced the people that they should be ruled by one person who was related to them instead of all of his brothers. Gideon had said that neither he nor his sons should rule over the people. Abimelech got together a bunch of misfits and went and killed all of his brothers except one. The one brother that was left compared Abimelech to a bramble or a bush with thorns. He wasn’t wrong! I couldn’t help being reminded of President Biden when I read this story. Rather than choosing someone stately and productive like an olive tree, we chose the bramble as our leader. Much like Abimelech, President Biden has led a rebellion against his own people, causing harm to our country in many ways. By the end of this story, Abimelech was severely injured by a woman who dropped a millstone on his head, and being too proud to have been known for being killed by a woman, he had his armourbearer kill him with the sword. 

I don’t know what’s going to happen to our country, but things are heating up at the border. May God help us overcome the crimes committed by the leaders of our country, and justice and His will be done.

And when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, they departed every man unto his place. Thus God rendered the wickedness of Abimelech, which he did unto his father, in slaying his seventy brethren: And all the evil of the men of Shechem did God render upon their heads: and upon them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal. Judges 9:55-57

Friday, January 26, 2024

January 26, 2024

Gideon was pursuing the kings of the Midian with his 300 men, who had slipped away while their men were killing each other. Remember, Gideon didn’t have to lift a finger because God was handling this victory with trumpets, broken pitchers, and light in the hands of the 300. However, when the kings ran off, Gideon pursued them with the sword! The army was out of provisions, so they stopped in two small towns in Israel and asked for help but were denied. He promised them he would be back to punish them for not helping. After killing those kings, he came back to Succoth and used thorns from the wilderness to puncture the skin of the elders of the city, and in Penuel, he beat down the tower and killed the men of the town. Do you think God was still in this as he had been in the victory over the Midian? He certainly was! We need to be careful when those doing the business of God ask for help; though we must use discernment and watch to see if their actions match God’s will, we should be willing to help when needed. They had only asked for provisions like food and water! Who are we to deny when a valiant servant asks for food and water? 

Even though Gideon denied becoming the ruler over Israel, they had peace under his guidance for 40 years, but after he died, they forgot about God and began worshipping Baal again. We are but one generation away from losing everything if our children don’t honor God as they should. Teach your children about Jesus, and if they depart from him in their youth, maybe they will return to him after they realize that there’s nothing better out in the world.

Side note: Gideon was also known as Jerubbaal. He had 70 sons and many wives. We can see that he didn’t follow the rules but was still honored in the Bible.

Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son's son also: for thou hast delivered us from the hand of Midian. And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the LORD shall rule over you. Judges 8:22-23

Thursday, January 25, 2024

January 25, 2024

Because of the oppression brought on by the Midianites, God had Gideon prepare for war. But, because He is God, it wouldn't go down like Gideon thought because he only needed a few men to rout this mighty army. God had Gideon sort out the men; those who were fearful, he sent them back to their tents; there were twenty-two thousand left, leaving ten thousand. God said there were still too many, so he set up another test and sorted them out by those who lapped water like a dog or politely kneeled by the water to drink. God chose those who lapped the water like a dog to be part of the regiment of three hundred. Gideon and his servant then went and spied on the enemy's camp and overheard one of the men telling his dream about a barley cake smashing a tent. The man with the dream's tent mate interpreted the dream, explaining that Gideon was going to win this war and called it the sword of Gideon by the hand of God. That seemingly minor word gave Gideon the confidence to get the job done because he knew God would make them victorious. The victory was even sweeter because they went armed only with trumpets and a torch hidden in a pitcher. They were scared by the trumpet and the pitcher's breaking, causing them to draw their swords upon one another, and the rest ran away in fear. 

God wants our victories to be attributed to Him and for us to give Him all the glory. That's why when you feel like He's yanking the rug out from under you, He's setting it up for you to see how good He is. Let no discouragement overtake you. Relax and let God handle the details; He is for you, not against you, and the victory will be even sweeter because you stepped aside and let Him handle it. 

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. And they stood every man in his place round about the camp: and all the host ran, and cried, and fled. Judges 7:20-21

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

January 24, 2024

How does it happen that after everything God did for Israel, they begin worshipping idols again? We are fortunate that most have never known this in the United States. However, we are beginning to see it more and more with the influx of people from other countries. We often see statues used for worship in homes and for sale in stores. Isn’t it funny that you can buy a god off the shelf? The truth is, if you are not worshipping God, you are worshipping Satan no matter what form he comes in. 

Because Israel turned against God and began worshipping Baal again, God allowed them to become oppressed by the Midianites (not the same ones as Moses’s father-in-law). They cried out for God’s help. Why didn’t they call on Baal to help? Here are my thoughts: It was probably the ones who still trusted in God who called on Him for help, much like here in the U.S., where the Christians are crying to God to rescue us from all the madness. After hearing their pleas for help, God called on Gideon, who used fleece to verify that God sent the angel, which I think was Jesus. He seemed very skeptical. If you don’t know the story, he set out a fleece, and if it was wet with dew and the ground was dry, then he would believe it was God, but the next day, he asked God to make the fleece dry and the ground wet. God honored his request to prove it was him. God still loves us even in our unbelief. 

There is still time for us to ask for God to help us. If you are not praying for God to rescue our country, please start praying today. We cannot count on the politicians to save us because many are being blackmailed for their illicit behavior brought on by the hands of Satan. It’s up to us and our faith in God to help deliver us from this evil. 

And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house. Judges 6:15

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

January 23, 2024

Deborah was so pleased with Israel's victory over Canaan that she wrote a song of praise to God. This chapter reminds us that when we see what God has accomplished through us, we must quickly offer Him praise lest we forget where our help comes from. Not only did she give God all the glory for his answer to their prayers and releasing them from the bondage of Canaan, but she acknowledged those who were there with her doing the fighting, including those who were not Israelites. She called out those tribes who continued with their daily lives while the rest of their family went to war. Then, not only does she remember Jael, who killed Sisera with a ten peg in this song, but she also remembers Sisera's mother, who waited and waited for him to come back from war only to realize he wasn't coming home. The central theme of this song and chapter is to give credit where credit is due, with the most significant praise going to God, without whom we wouldn't have our victories. 

So let all thine enemies perish, O LORD: but let them that love him be as the sun when he goeth forth in his might. And the land had rest forty years. Judges 5:31

Monday, January 22, 2024

January 22, 2024

Even though women may seem to be second place to men in the Bible, God clarifies that we are very valuable to Him. Deborah was one of the judges in Israel and had a solid connection to God; she was called a prophetess and could hear the voice of God. Even though the Bible doesn't mention it, it is said that she made wicks for the lamps of the Tabernacle. She helped provide the lighting in God's house! Israel was being oppressed by Jabin, king of Canaan, who had many iron chariots. Israel cried out to God for help. Deborah sent and called for Barak to gather men for war, but he was timid to go against them. However, Deborah got word from God that they would defeat Canaan, but Barak wouldn't engage the enemy unless Deborah went. She was confident that he had heard the same thing as she did and encouraged him. She agreed to go with him but warned that a woman would overshadow his accomplishments. They kill all of the soldiers of Canaan but their leader, Sisera. He got away and hid in the tent of Jael, Heber's wife, who gave him milk to drink and covered him with a rug. While he was fast asleep, she drove a tent peg into his head, killing him; she wasn't even an Israelite, but she became the heroine of the story. 

God speaks to us every day, but we sometimes miss it because he is not loud or intrusive; we know it's him because what he tells us is the right thing to do, but we want to go our own way. If you think you hear him, stop and verify it with him through prayer. Ultimately, our best way to hear his voice is through scripture, but he does speak in other ways when you learn to tune him in. 

And Deborah said unto Barak, Up; for this is the day in which the LORD hath delivered Sisera into thine hand: is not the LORD gone out before thee? So Barak went down from mount Tabor, and ten thousand men after him. Judges 4:14

Sunday, January 21, 2024

January 21, 2024

In Judges 3, we have the account of the first three judges. It had been quite a while since Israel had trouble, and because few of them had seen war, they became complacent. Many married into the Canaanite families that they hadn’t driven out as God had commanded, and they began worshipping their idols.  

Othniel: The king of Mesopotamia oppressed Israel for eight years, and they cried to God for help. “And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgat the LORD their God, and served Baalim and the groves. Judges 3:7.” The spirit of the Lord came upon Othniel, Caleb’s son-in-law; he judged Israel and went to war, he overcame that king, and they had peace for forty years, then he died. 

Ehud: For 18 years, Elgon, king of Moab, oppressed the Israelites, so they cried to the Lord for help, and he raised up Ehud to deliver them. Ehud made a double-edged dagger, hid it on his thigh, and went and met with the Moabite king. His attendants left the room, and Ehud thrust the dagger into the king’s belly. He was so fat that the dagger disappeared in it, and Ehud was able to get away before they even knew he was dead. The Ehud led Israel to war against Moab, and they killed 10000. None escaped. They had no more trouble for 80 years. This story has much more; read it if you have time. “And Ehud put forth his left hand, and took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly: And the haft also went in after the blade; and the fat closed upon the blade so that he could not draw the dagger out of his belly; and the dirt came out. Judges 3:21-22”

Shamgar: After him was Shamgar the son of Anath, who killed 600 of the Philistines with an oxgoad, and he also saved Israel. Judges 3:31

The point of today’s message is not to become complacent. God will use whatever means necessary to draw your attention back to Him, even if that means oppression or war. Keep your eyes on Jesus at all times.