Category Archives: Judges

 Judges 14-16 

I comfort myself and other parents with an encouraging word when it comes to children – a godly home is no guarantee of a godly life if the spiritual influence is rejected by a child. One cannot put immediate blame the parents, but rather a spotlight is first on the child. God gave Samson a godly heritage, he was raised with an incredible calling to honour God. Falling in love turned him against his parents. How did he fall in love? He walked four miles into enemy territory, was captivated by a pretty face and decided to marry that pretty face.

Samson went down to Timnah. There in Timnah a woman caught his eye, a Philistine girl. He came back and told his father and mother, “I saw a woman in Timnah, a Philistine girl; get her for me as my wife.” – Joshua 14:1-2 MSG

I have stories to tell of such encounters. They happen far to often in the people I know, especially those who have been called into leadership. It reminds me of the warning – “You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else.”

They couldn’t figure it out. After three days they were still stumped. On the fourth day they said to Samson’s bride, “Worm the answer out of your husband or we’ll burn you and your father’s household. Have you invited us here to bankrupt us?”

So Samson’s bride turned on the tears, saying to him, “You hate me. You don’t love me. You’ve told a riddle to my people but you won’t even tell me the answer.”

He said, “I haven’t told my own parents—why would I tell you?”

But she turned on the tears all the seven days of the feast. On the seventh day, worn out by her nagging, he told her. Then she went and told it to her people.

The men of the town came to him on the seventh day, just before sunset and said,

What is sweeter than honey?
What is stronger than a lion?

And Samson said,

If you hadn’t plowed with my heifer,
You wouldn’t have found out my riddle.

Then the Spirit of God came powerfully on him. He went down to Ashkelon and killed thirty of their men, stripped them, and gave their clothing to those who had solved the riddle. Stalking out, smoking with anger, he went home to his father’s house. Samson’s bride became the wife of the best man at his wedding. – Judges 14:14-20 MSG

Samson’s self-will ironically yielded no satisfaction for him. By disregarding his God-given privileges he lost his bet with the Philistines, his wardrobe, his wife, and his honour. Samson’s basic problem was that he did not submit to God’s authority over his life. This authority problem manifested itself first in his refusal to submit to his parents’ authority. By giving his parents so little honour, he made room to give himself permission to pursue his own plans. That would be a red flag.

Father, do not allow red flags to go unnoticed in my life.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Judges 8-9

I was standing next to a woman and noticed she had a chess game in her bag. I told her I had a board just like it.

“It’s my son’s. He’s really good at playing chess. He beats me all the time. He knows where he wants to go and how many moves it will take him to get there,” she paused. “Isn’t that just like God too? He knows all the moves it takes.”

22 After Abimelek had governed Israel three years, 23 God stirred up animosity between Abimelek and the citizens of Shechem so that they acted treacherously against Abimelek. 24 God did this in order that the crime against Jerub-Baal’s seventy sons, the shedding of their blood, might be avenged on their brother Abimelek and on the citizens of Shechem, who had helped him murder his brothers. (Judges 9:22-24, NIV)

Part of the road to Gideon’s victory is tainted with resentment and vengeance. A people take an occasion to honor God and turn it into idol worship. A brother conspires against his family for his own power and gain, a drive that is merciless, scheming, and murderous. Years pass. Lives are lost. And in an unexpected turn, God uses the unexpected to achieve his goal–a mortal blow hastened to an end by a trusted servant.

50 Next Abimelek went to Thebez and besieged it and captured it. 51 Inside the city, however, was a strong tower, to which all the men and women—all the people of the city—had fled. They had locked themselves in and climbed up on the tower roof. 52 Abimelek went to the tower and attacked it. But as he approached the entrance to the tower to set it on fire, 53 a woman dropped an upper millstone on his head and cracked his skull.

54 Hurriedly he called to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and kill me, so that they can’t say, ‘A woman killed him.’” So his servant ran him through, and he died. 55 When the Israelites saw that Abimelek was dead, they went home.

56 Thus God repaid the wickedness that Abimelek had done to his father by murdering his seventy brothers. 57 God also made the people of Shechem pay for all their wickedness. The curse of Jotham son of Jerub-Baal came on them. (Judges 9:50-57, NIV)

Likely, Gideon never imagined the events that would follow his victory. But God knew. And this story emphasizes to me that in the crazy, the unthinkable, the deceitful and vengeful things of life, in the loss and injustice I witness, there is a just God who knows. He is so many steps ahead and already working things out toward an end he has known all along.

Lord, I don’t know all the details. But you do. Your word prepares my heart and gives me a perspective, a hope, and a gratitude of your sovereignty, might, and justice. Who would I be without your mercy, faithfulness, and love? Oh, to know that no matter what, you hold me in your hand. Thank you.

Courtney (66books365)

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Judges 3-5

Deborah, the wife of Lappidoth, was a prophet who was judging Israel at that time. She would sit under the Palm of Deborah, between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites would go to her for judgement. One day she sent for Barak son of Abinoam, who lived in Kedesh in the land of Naphtali. She said to him, ”This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, commands you: Call out 10,000 warriors from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun at Mount Tabor. And I will call out Sisera, commander of Jabin’s army, along with his chariots and warriors, to the Kishon River. There I will give you victory over him.” Barak told her, ”I will go, but only if you go with me.” ”Very well,” she replied, ”I will go with you. But you will receive no honor in this venture, for the Lord’s victory over Sisera will be at the hands of a woman.” So Deborah went with Barak to Kadesh. So on that day Israel saw God defeat Jabin, the Canaanite king. And from that time on Israel became stronger and stronger against King Jabin until they finally destroyed him.” Judges 4:4-9; 23&24 NLT

Deborah was chosen by God. She was the only female judge of Israel. She didn’t let the fact that she was a woman in a time where women leaders weren’t common, make her lose sight of God’s plan for her life. She was a prophet whose main role was to encourage people to obey God. She used her gifts, like writing songs, to influence others and draw them closer to the Lord. She was humble enough to not want the credit. She desired for God’s purpose to be carried out and for Him to get the glory. Isn’t that what God is calling me to do, no matter what my assignment from Him is?

In the days of Shamgar son of Anath, and in the days of Jael, people avoided the main roads, travelers stayed on winding pathways. There were few people left in the villages of Israel-until Deborah arose as a mother for Israel.” Judges 5:6&7 NLT

Deborah lead the people into battle, but more than that her life impacted them to live for God once the battle was over. What is my place of influence? How am I using my gifts to serve others?

Dear Father, thank you for Deborah’s example of faithfulness to You. How she trusted You and acted in obedience. I want to live with the same courage & boldness. Amen.

Wake up, Deborah, wake up! Wake up, Wake up, and sing a song! Arise Barak! Lead your captives away, son of Abinoam!” Judges 5:12 NLT

Amy (amyctanner)

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Judges 17-18; Psalm 21; Acts 1

Then Micah said, “Now I know that the Lord will be good to me, because a Levite has become my priest.” – Judges 17:13 HCSB

A striking note to me today as I think how individuals like Micah, think God comes in good luck charms. I can easily fall into a combination of Heathenism, Judaism and Christianity. While I grasp the complex concept of the Trinity, why do I still find myself thinking that God has little interest in the affairs of this world, either in a way of present control, or of future retribution?

It happens when I miss God’s goodness and grace that comes to meet me all the time.

For You meet him with rich blessings;
You place a crown of pure gold on his head.
He asked You for life, and You gave it to him—
length of days forever and ever.
His glory is great through Your victory;
You confer majesty and splendor on him.
You give him blessings forever;
You cheer him with joy in Your presence.
For the king relies on the Lord;
through the faithful love of the Most High
he is not shaken. – Psalm 21:3-7 HCSB

The grace of God’s love loves me before I ever loved Him. His grace of restraint keeps me from committing sins that would put me more out of reach of the Gospel.

All these were continually united in prayer,[c] along with the women, including Mary[d] the mother of Jesus, and His brothers. During these days Peter stood up among the brothers[e]—the number of people who were together was about 120… – Acts 1:14-15 HCSB

I can see this grace resulting in change that took place in the lives of the disciples. Did they not argue, on more than one occasion who among them was the greatest? Yet after the resurrection of Jesus and His ascension, they no longer argued but were truly united because there was trust among them. As a follower of Jesus I must learn to trust other followers, being united together to fulfill the Great Commission.

I saw that they were not concerned about who was the greatest, whose sin was worst or least, they were only concerned on how they could fulfill that Great Commission. That brought unity – everyone had the same goal.

Father, I pray that I do not fall into thinking like the world does about You. I pray that Your grace will meet me each day and that Your goodness will walk with me always. I pray that I will have time to honour You for Your blessings and I look forward to Your presence that enables me to rely on You and experience Your love. I sense Your strength ensuring that in my life. May I enjoy the presence of other believers and together may we share the good news of Jesus to the world that needs it and are looking for You.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Judges12; Acts 16; Jeremiah 25; Mark 11

I read a story that is still active and alive today. A story of a word – Shibboleth.

In order to keep the Ephraimites from escaping, the Gileadites captured the places where the Jordan could be crossed. When any Ephraimite who was trying to escape would ask permission to cross, the men of Gilead would ask, “Are you an Ephraimite?” If he said, “No,” they would tell him to say “Shibboleth.” But he would say “Sibboleth,” because he could not pronounce it correctly. Then they would grab him and kill him there at one of the Jordan River crossings. At that time forty-two thousand of the Ephraimites were killed. – Judges 12:5-6 GNT

My mom would tell me stories during the war of how they could find out if an American spy, posing as a German, could be tested in order to find them out. I think, we in the church do the same thing in determining whether one is really a follower of God. It is by prayer that I believe I refrain from lapsing into the Pharisee’s censoriousness.

Why cannot I be free to move as the Holy Spirit moves me just as Paul and Silas were?

They traveled through the region of Phrygia and Galatia because the Holy Spirit did not let them preach the message in the province of Asia. When they reached the border of Mysia, they tried to go into the province of Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. – Acts 16:6-7 GNT

It is difficult to understand why I have to do something differently but there is a moment of faith where I can almost see God’s hand trying to show the 30,000 foot view of where the Holy Spirit is moving.

The same is so when it comes to my sin. I pray that I never take it lightly.

The Lord, the God of Israel, said to me, “Here is a wine cup filled with my anger. Take it to all the nations to whom I send you, and make them drink from it. – Jeremiah 25:15 GNT

I am so thankful that I can pray and ask for help in overcoming the temptations of judgement on others and in ignoring the move of the Holy Spirit. I pray for faith to believe and the power to forgive.

Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. For this reason I tell you: When you pray and ask for something, believe that you have received it, and you will be given whatever you ask for. And when you stand and pray, forgive anything you may have against anyone, so that your Father in heaven will forgive the wrongs you have done. – Mark 11:22, 24-25 GNT

Father, may my walk with You be based on faith and not of judgment, on believing in You and not in myself, and on forgiving so that I may find myself being forgiven. Amen

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