Weekend Reading (April 10)

Dear Heavenly Father, Please open my understanding as I read the Bible so that I may be able to know you better. Please help your word be planted in my mind, so I may recall it as needed. Bless me with wisdom and knowledge, please. In the name of Jesus we pray ~ amen

RELATIONSHIP:
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

MEMORY WORK: Hebrews 2:14 – Jesus defeated the devil!
NKJV – “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,”
NAS – “Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, so that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,”
ESV – “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,”
NLT – “Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.”
NIV – “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil”

Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

BIBLE READING: 1 Samuel 9-12  NKJV

Saul Chosen to Be King

There was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Bechorath, the son of Aphiah, a Benjamite, a mighty man of [a]power. And he had a choice and handsome son whose name was Saul. There was not a more handsome person than he among the children of Israel. From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people.

Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul’s father, were lost. And Kish said to his son Saul, “Please take one of the servants with you, and arise, go and look for the donkeys.” So he passed through the mountains of Ephraim and through the land of Shalisha, but they did not find them. Then they passed through the land of Shaalim, and they were not there. Then he passed through the land of the Benjamites, but they did not find them.

When they had come to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant who was with him, “Come, let us return, lest my father cease caring about the donkeys and become worried about us.”

And he said to him, “Look now, there is in this city a man of God, and he is an honorable man; all that he says surely comes to pass. So let us go there; perhaps he can show us the way that we should go.”

Then Saul said to his servant, “But look, if we go, what shall we bring the man? For the bread in our vessels is all gone, and there is no present to bring to the man of God. What do we have?”

And the servant answered Saul again and said, “Look, I have here at hand one-fourth of a shekel of silver. I will give that to the man of God, to tell us our way.” (Formerly in Israel, when a man went [b]to inquire of God, he spoke thus: “Come, let us go to the seer”; for he who is now called a prophet was formerly called a seer.)

10 Then Saul said to his servant, [c]“Well said; come, let us go.” So they went to the city where the man of God was.

11 As they went up the hill to the city, they met some young women going out to draw water, and said to them, “Is the seer here?”

12 And they answered them and said, “Yes, there he is, just ahead of you. Hurry now; for today he came to this city, because there is a sacrifice of the people today on the high place. 13 As soon as you come into the city, you will surely find him before he goes up to the high place to eat. For the people will not eat until he comes, because he must bless the sacrifice; afterward those who are invited will eat. Now therefore, go up, for about this time you will find him.” 14 So they went up to the city. As they were coming into the city, there was Samuel, coming out toward them on his way up to the high place.

15 Now the Lord had told Samuel in his ear the day before Saul came, saying, 16 “Tomorrow about this time I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him [d]commander over My people Israel, that he may save My people from the hand of the Philistines; for I have looked upon My people, because their cry has come to Me.”

17 So when Samuel saw Saul, the Lord said to him, “There he is, the man of whom I spoke to you. This one shall reign over My people.” 18 Then Saul drew near to Samuel in the gate, and said, “Please tell me, where is the seer’s house?”

19 Samuel answered Saul and said, “I am the seer. Go up before me to the high place, for you shall eat with me today; and tomorrow I will let you go and will tell you all that is in your heart. 20 But as for your donkeys that were lost three days ago, do not be anxious about them, for they have been found. And [e]on whom is all the desire of Israel? Is it not on you and on all your father’s house?”

21 And Saul answered and said, “Am I not a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel, and my family the least of all the families of the [f]tribe of Benjamin? Why then do you speak like this to me?”

22 Now Samuel took Saul and his servant and brought them into the hall, and had them sit in the place of honor among those who were invited; there were about thirty persons. 23 And Samuel said to the cook, “Bring the portion which I gave you, of which I said to you, ‘Set it apart.’ ” 24 So the cook took up the thigh with its upper part and set it before Saul. And Samuel said, “Here it is, what was kept back. It was set apart for you. Eat; for until this time it has been kept for you, since I said I invited the people.” So Saul ate with Samuel that day.

25 When they had come down from the high place into the city, [g]Samuel spoke with Saul on the top of the house. 26 They arose early; and it was about the dawning of the day that Samuel called to Saul on the top of the house, saying, “Get up, that I may send you on your way.” And Saul arose, and both of them went outside, he and Samuel.

Saul Anointed King

27 As they were going down to the outskirts of the city, Samuel said to Saul, “Tell the servant to go on ahead of us.” And he went on. “But you stand here [h]awhile, that I may announce to you the word of God.”

Samuel Anoints Saul

10 Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on his head, and kissed him and said: “Is it not because the Lord has anointed you commander over His [i]inheritance? When you have departed from me today, you will find two men by Rachel’s tomb in the territory of Benjamin at Zelzah; and they will say to you, ‘The donkeys which you went to look for have been found. And now your father has ceased caring about the donkeys and is worrying about you, saying, “What shall I do about my son?” ’ Then you shall go on forward from there and come to the terebinth tree of Tabor. There three men going up to God at Bethel will meet you, one carrying three young goats, another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a skin of wine. And they will [j]greet you and give you two loaves of bread, which you shall receive from their hands. After that you shall come to the hill of God where the Philistine garrison is. And it will happen, when you have come there to the city, that you will meet a group of prophets coming down from the high place with a stringed instrument, a tambourine, a flute, and a harp before them; and they will be prophesying. Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man. And let it be, when these signs come to you, that you do as the occasion demands; for God is with you. You shall go down before me to Gilgal; and surely I will come down to you to offer burnt offerings and make sacrifices of peace offerings. Seven days you shall wait, till I come to you and show you what you should do.”

So it was, when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, that God [k]gave him another heart; and all those signs came to pass that day. 10 When they came there to the hill, there was a group of prophets to meet him; then the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them. 11 And it happened, when all who knew him formerly saw that he indeed prophesied among the prophets, that the people said to one another, “What is this that has come upon the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?” 12 Then a man from there answered and said, “But who is their father?” Therefore it became a proverb: “Is Saul also among the prophets?” 13 And when he had finished prophesying, he went to the high place.

14 Then Saul’s uncle said to him and his servant, “Where did you go?”

So he said, “To look for the donkeys. When we saw that they were nowhere to be found, we went to Samuel.”

15 And Saul’s uncle said, “Tell me, please, what Samuel said to you.”

16 So Saul said to his uncle, “He told us plainly that the donkeys had been found.” But about the matter of the kingdom, he did not tell him what Samuel had said.

Saul Proclaimed King

17 Then Samuel called the people together to the Lord at Mizpah, 18 and said to the children of Israel, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘I brought up Israel out of Egypt, and delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all kingdoms and from those who oppressed you.’ 19 But you have today rejected your God, who Himself saved you from all your adversities and your tribulations; and you have said to Him, ‘No, set a king over us!’ Now therefore, present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes and by your [l]clans.”

20 And when Samuel had caused all the tribes of Israel to come near, the tribe of Benjamin was chosen. 21 When he had caused the tribe of Benjamin to come near by their families, the family of Matri was chosen. And Saul the son of Kish was chosen. But when they sought him, he could not be found. 22 Therefore they inquired of the Lord further, “Has the man come here yet?”

And the Lord answered, “There he is, hidden among the equipment.”

23 So they ran and brought him from there; and when he stood among the people, he was taller than any of the people from his shoulders upward. 24 And Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see him whom the Lord has chosen, that there is no one like him among all the people?”

So all the people shouted and said, “Long[m] live the king!”

25 Then Samuel explained to the people the behavior of royalty, and wrote it in a book and laid it up before the Lord. And Samuel sent all the people away, every man to his house. 26 And Saul also went home to Gibeah; and valiant men went with him, whose hearts God had touched. 27 But some rebels said, “How can this man save us?” So they despised him, and brought him no presents. But he [n]held his peace.

Saul Saves Jabesh Gilead

11 Then Nahash the Ammonite came up and [o]encamped against Jabesh Gilead; and all the men of Jabesh said to Nahash, “Make a covenant with us, and we will serve you.”

And Nahash the Ammonite answered them, “On this condition I will make a covenant with you, that I may put out all your right eyes, and bring reproach on all Israel.”

Then the elders of Jabesh said to him, “Hold off for seven days, that we may send messengers to all the territory of Israel. And then, if there is no one to [p]save us, we will come out to you.”

So the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul and told the news in the hearing of the people. And all the people lifted up their voices and wept. Now there was Saul, coming behind the herd from the field; and Saul said, “What troubles the people, that they weep?” And they told him the words of the men of Jabesh. Then the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard this news, and his anger was greatly aroused. So he took a yoke of oxen and cut them in pieces, and sent them throughout all the territory of Israel by the hands of messengers, saying, “Whoever does not go out with Saul and Samuel to battle, so it shall be done to his oxen.”

And the fear of the Lord fell on the people, and they came out [q]with one consent. When he numbered them in Bezek, the children of Israel were three hundred thousand, and the men of Judah thirty thousand. And they said to the messengers who came, “Thus you shall say to the men of Jabesh Gilead: ‘Tomorrow, by the time the sun is hot, you shall have help.’ ” Then the messengers came and reported it to the men of Jabesh, and they were glad. 10 Therefore the men of Jabesh said, “Tomorrow we will come out to you, and you may do with us whatever seems good to you.”

11 So it was, on the next day, that Saul put the people in three companies; and they came into the midst of the camp in the morning watch, and killed Ammonites until the heat of the day. And it happened that those who survived were scattered, so that no two of them were left together.

12 Then the people said to Samuel, “Who is he who said, ‘Shall Saul reign over us?’ Bring the men, that we may put them to death.”

13 But Saul said, “Not a man shall be put to death this day, for today the Lord has accomplished salvation in Israel.”

14 Then Samuel said to the people, “Come, let us go to Gilgal and renew the kingdom there.” 15 So all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king before the Lord in Gilgal. There they made sacrifices of peace offerings before the Lord, and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly.

Samuel’s Address at Saul’s Coronation

12 Now Samuel said to all Israel: “Indeed I have [r]heeded your voice in all that you said to me, and have made a king over you. And now here is the king, walking before you; and I am old and grayheaded, and look, my sons are with you. I have walked before you from my childhood to this day. Here I am. Witness against me before the Lord and before His anointed: Whose ox have I taken, or whose donkey have I taken, or whom have I cheated? Whom have I oppressed, or from whose hand have I received any bribe with which to blind my eyes? I will restore it to you.”

And they said, “You have not cheated us or oppressed us, nor have you taken anything from any man’s hand.”

Then he said to them, “The Lord is witness against you, and His anointed is witness this day, that you have not found anything in my hand.”

And they answered, “He is witness.”

Then Samuel said to the people, “It is the Lord who raised up Moses and Aaron, and who brought your fathers up from the land of Egypt. Now therefore, stand still, that I may reason with you before the Lord concerning all the righteous acts of the Lord which He did to you and your fathers: When Jacob had gone into [s]Egypt, and your fathers cried out to the Lord, then the Lord sent Moses and Aaron, who brought your fathers out of Egypt and made them dwell in this place. And when they forgot the Lord their God, He sold them into the hand of Sisera, commander of the army of Hazor, into the hand of the Philistines, and into the hand of the king of Moab; and they fought against them. 10 Then they cried out to the Lord, and said, ‘We have sinned, because we have forsaken the Lord and served the Baals and [t]Ashtoreths; but now deliver us from the hand of our enemies, and we will serve You.’ 11 And the Lord sent [u]Jerubbaal, [v]Bedan, Jephthah, and Samuel,[w] and delivered you out of the hand of your enemies on every side; and you dwelt in safety. 12 And when you saw that Nahash king of the Ammonites came against you, you said to me, ‘No, but a king shall reign over us,’ when the Lord your God was your king.

13 “Now therefore, here is the king whom you have chosen and whom you have desired. And take note, the Lord has set a king over you. 14 If you fear the Lord and serve Him and obey His voice, and do not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then both you and the king who reigns over you will continue following the Lord your God. 15 However, if you do not obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then the hand of the Lord will be against you, as it was against your fathers.

16 “Now therefore, stand and see this great thing which the Lord will do before your eyes: 17 Is today not the wheat harvest? I will call to the Lord, and He will send thunder and rain, that you may perceive and see that your wickedness is great, which you have done in the sight of the Lord, in asking a king for yourselves.”

18 So Samuel called to the Lord, and the Lord sent thunder and rain that day; and all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel.

19 And all the people said to Samuel, “Pray for your servants to the Lord your God, that we may not die; for we have added to all our sins the evil of asking a king for ourselves.”

20 Then Samuel said to the people, “Do not fear. You have done all this wickedness; yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. 21 And do not turn aside; for then you would go after empty things which cannot profit or deliver, for they are nothing. 22 For the Lord will not forsake His people, for His great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you His people. 23 Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way. 24 Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you. 25 But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.”

Footnotes

  1. 1 Samuel 9:1 wealth
  2. 1 Samuel 9:9 Lit. to seek God
  3. 1 Samuel 9:10 Lit. Your word is good
  4. 1 Samuel 9:16 prince or ruler
  5. 1 Samuel 9:20 for whom
  6. 1 Samuel 9:21 Lit. tribes
  7. 1 Samuel 9:25 So with MT, Tg.; LXX omits He spoke with Saul on the top of the house; LXX, Vg. afterward add And he prepared a bed for Saul on the top of the house, and he slept.
  8. 1 Samuel 9:27 now
  9. 1 Samuel 10:1 So with MT, Tg., Vg.; LXX people Israel; and you shall rule the people of the Lord; LXX, Vg. add And you shall deliver His people from the hands of their enemies all around them. And this shall be a sign to you, that God has anointed you to be a prince.
  10. 1 Samuel 10:4 ask you about your welfare
  11. 1 Samuel 10:9 changed his heart
  12. 1 Samuel 10:19 Lit. thousands
  13. 1 Samuel 10:24 Lit. May the king live
  14. 1 Samuel 10:27 kept silent
  15. 1 Samuel 11:1 besieged
  16. 1 Samuel 11:3 deliver
  17. 1 Samuel 11:7 Lit. as one man
  18. 1 Samuel 12:1 listened to
  19. 1 Samuel 12:8 So with MT, Tg., Vg.; LXX adds and the Egyptians afflicted them
  20. 1 Samuel 12:10 Images of Canaanite goddesses
  21. 1 Samuel 12:11 Gideon, cf. Judg. 6:25–32; Syr. Deborah; Tg. Gideon
  22. 1 Samuel 12:11 LXX, Syr. Barak; Tg. Simson
  23. 1 Samuel 12:11 Syr. Simson

“We want a king!”

“Now it came to pass when Samuel was old that he made his sons judges over Israel. The name of his firstborn was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beersheba. But his sons did not walk in his ways; they turned aside after dishonest gain, took bribes, and perverted justice.” 1 Samuel 8:1-3 NKJV

Wait, Sam’s boys did not walk in his ways?!?!

Dear Heavenly Father – As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the book of 1 Samuel 4-8 (embedded below for your convenience). It reads a bit like the book of Judges read. After the book of Judges – Eli was a judge, then Samuel, and then Samuel’s sons who became wicked.

I feel for poor Samuel. Raise a child in the ways of the Lord…. And all that… yet no matter how much wisdom is in those proverbs, it is wisdom and not a promise. (I hope I did not crush someone standing on that verse waiting for a prodigal to come home. There are much better verses for that promise which aren’t rhythmic wise sayings, designed to help guide you to live wisely. Yes, wisdom says they will not part from it – but the prodigal did not act wisely and the proverb says nothing about them coming back. There are much better verses.)

So we see here they had a couple good judges and then when the boys were not good – they wanted a king! This seed was planted back in the book of Judges – we spoke about it:

“Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, both you and your son, and your grandson also; for you have delivered us from the hand of Midian.”
But Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you; the 
Lord shall rule over you.” Judges 8:22-23 NKJV

Everyone else had a king.  And God wanted to do it His way and He wanted the people to turn to Him and He wanted them to be different – They wanted to be like everyone else.

I see that level of peer pressure everywhere these days. Like the pressure to get the vaccine. I will not say you should or shouldn’t. I will say – NO, this is not “the mark”. But this along with other things shows us very clearly we are set up for it to come. Have been for a while, but the attitudes of a desperate, scared, lost and hopeless generation are being prepared.  We cannot stop what if prophecy and what MUST be fulfilled.

I was sharing this idea with a person who used to go to church – but now rejects God and his argument is that he wants to live. And here we see the strong delusion that God said would come:
The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 NKJV

Jesus came to give us life and life more abundantly. I tried to quote our memory verse about Jesus defeating death (I had to look it up, though). And I explained John 3:16 – Eternal Life!

It is in, and with, the world (and without God and without the salvation Jesus brought us) that we find death and fear. These are not things of God. Life and no fear is what God represents and gives to us.  And like the Israelites – His only request is that we turn to Him, let Him rule us, and be separate from those people of the world.

But in 1 Samuel we see that God gave them what they wanted and let them be like the other nations – and it went poorly, just like God said it would – but here we begin the stories of the Kings of Israel.  

RELATIONSHIP:
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

MEMORY WORK: Hebrews 2:14 – Jesus defeated the devil!
NKJV – “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,”
NAS – “Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, so that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,”
ESV – “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,”
NLT – “Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.”
NIV – “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil”

Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

BIBLE READING: 1 Samuel 4-8 NKJV

The Death of Eli

And the word of Samuel came to all [a]Israel.

The Ark of God Captured

Now Israel went out to battle against the Philistines, and encamped beside Ebenezer; and the Philistines encamped in Aphek. Then the Philistines put themselves in battle array against Israel. And when they joined battle, Israel was [b]defeated by the Philistines, who killed about four thousand men of the army in the field. And when the people had come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord from Shiloh to us, that when it comes among us it may save us from the hand of our enemies.” So the people sent to Shiloh, that they might bring from there the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts, who dwells between the cherubim. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.

And when the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel shouted so loudly that the earth shook. Now when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, “What does the sound of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews mean?” Then they understood that the ark of the Lord had come into the camp. So the Philistines were afraid, for they said, “God has come into the camp!” And they said, “Woe to us! For such a thing has never happened before. Woe to us! Who will deliver us from the hand of these mighty gods? These are the gods who struck the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness. Be strong and conduct yourselves like men, you Philistines, that you do not become servants of the Hebrews, as they have been to you. [c]Conduct yourselves like men, and fight!”

10 So the Philistines fought, and Israel was [d]defeated, and every man fled to his tent. There was a very great slaughter, and there fell of Israel thirty thousand foot soldiers. 11 Also the ark of God was captured; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, died.

Death of Eli

12 Then a man of Benjamin ran from the battle line the same day, and came to Shiloh with his clothes torn and dirt on his head. 13 Now when he came, there was Eli, sitting on a seat [e]by the wayside watching, for his heart [f]trembled for the ark of God. And when the man came into the city and told it, all the city cried out. 14 When Eli heard the noise of the outcry, he said, “What does the sound of this tumult mean?” And the man came quickly and told Eli. 15 Eli was ninety-eight years old, and his eyes were so [g]dim that he could not see.

16 Then the man said to Eli, “I am he who came from the battle. And I fled today from the battle line.”

And he said, “What happened, my son?”

17 So the messenger answered and said, “Israel has fled before the Philistines, and there has been a great slaughter among the people. Also your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead; and the ark of God has been captured.”

18 Then it happened, when he made mention of the ark of God, that Eli fell off the seat backward by the side of the gate; and his neck was broken and he died, for the man was old and heavy. And he had judged Israel forty years.

Ichabod

19 Now his daughter-in-law, Phinehas’ wife, was with child, due to be delivered; and when she heard the news that the ark of God was captured, and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she bowed herself and gave birth, for her labor pains came upon her. 20 And about the time of her death the women who stood by her said to her, “Do not fear, for you have borne a son.” But she did not answer, nor did she [h]regard it. 21 Then she named the child Ichabod,[i] saying, “The glory has departed from Israel!” because the ark of God had been captured and because of her father-in-law and her husband. 22 And she said, “The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.”

The Philistines and the Ark

Then the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon[j] and set it by Dagon. And when the people of Ashdod arose early in the morning, there was Dagon, fallen on its face to the earth before the ark of the Lord. So they took Dagon and set it in its place again. And when they arose early the next morning, there was Dagon, fallen on its face to the ground before the ark of the Lord. The head of Dagon and both the palms of its hands were broken off on the threshold; only [k]Dagon’s torso was left of it. Therefore neither the priests of Dagon nor any who come into Dagon’s house tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day.

But the hand of the Lord was heavy on the people of Ashdod, and He ravaged them and struck them with tumors,[l] both Ashdod and its territory. And when the men of Ashdod saw how it was, they said, “The ark of the God of Israel must not remain with us, for His hand is harsh toward us and Dagon our god.” Therefore they sent and gathered to themselves all the lords of the Philistines, and said, “What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel?”

And they answered, “Let the ark of the God of Israel be carried away to Gath.” So they carried the ark of the God of Israel away. So it was, after they had carried it away, that the hand of the Lord was against the city with a very great destruction; and He struck the men of the city, both small and great, [m]and tumors broke out on them.

10 Therefore they sent the ark of God to Ekron. So it was, as the ark of God came to Ekron, that the Ekronites cried out, saying, “They have brought the ark of the God of Israel to us, to kill us and our people!” 11 So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and said, “Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go back to its own place, so that it does not kill us and our people.” For there was a deadly destruction throughout all the city; the hand of God was very heavy there. 12 And the men who did not die were stricken with the tumors, and the cry of the city went up to heaven.

The Ark Returned to Israel

Now the ark of the Lord was in the country of the Philistines seven months. And the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners, saying, “What shall we do with the ark of the Lord? Tell us how we should send it to its place.”

So they said, “If you send away the ark of the God of Israel, do not send it empty; but by all means return it to Him with a trespass offering. Then you will be healed, and it will be known to you why His hand is not removed from you.”

Then they said, “What is the trespass offering which we shall return to Him?”

They answered, “Five golden tumors and five golden rats, according to the number of the lords of the Philistines. For the same plague was on all of [n]you and on your lords. Therefore you shall make images of your tumors and images of your rats that ravage the land, and you shall give glory to the God of Israel; perhaps He will lighten[o] His hand from you, from your gods, and from your land. Why then do you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? When He did mighty things among them, did they not let the people go, that they might depart? Now therefore, make a new cart, take two milk cows which have never been yoked, and hitch the cows to the cart; and take their calves home, away from them. Then take the ark of the Lord and set it on the cart; and put the articles of gold which you are returning to Him as a trespass offering in a chest by its side. Then send it away, and let it go. And watch: if it goes up the road to its own territory, to Beth Shemesh, then He has done [p]us this great evil. But if not, then we shall know that it is not His hand that struck us—it happened to us by chance.”

10 Then the men did so; they took two milk cows and hitched them to the cart, and shut up their calves at home. 11 And they set the ark of the Lord on the cart, and the chest with the gold rats and the images of their tumors. 12 Then the cows headed straight for the road to Beth Shemesh, and went along the highway, lowing as they went, and did not turn aside to the right hand or the left. And the lords of the Philistines went after them to the border of Beth Shemesh.

13 Now the people of Beth Shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley; and they lifted their eyes and saw the ark, and rejoiced to see it. 14 Then the cart came into the field of Joshua of Beth Shemesh, and stood there; a large stone was there. So they split the wood of the cart and offered the cows as a burnt offering to the Lord. 15 The Levites took down the ark of the Lord and the chest that was with it, in which were the articles of gold, and put them on the large stone. Then the men of Beth Shemesh offered burnt offerings and made sacrifices the same day to the Lord. 16 So when the five lords of the Philistines had seen it, they returned to Ekron the same day.

17 These are the golden tumors which the Philistines returned as a trespass offering to the Lord: one for Ashdod, one for Gaza, one for Ashkelon, one for Gath, one for Ekron; 18 and the golden rats, according to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five lords, both fortified cities and country villages, even as far as the large stone of Abel on which they set the ark of the Lord, which stone remains to this day in the field of Joshua of Beth Shemesh.

19 Then He struck the men of Beth Shemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the Lord. [q]He struck fifty thousand and seventy men of the people, and the people lamented because the Lord had struck the people with a great slaughter.

The Ark at Kirjath Jearim

20 And the men of Beth Shemesh said, “Who is able to stand before this holy Lord God? And to whom shall it go up from us?” 21 So they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kirjath Jearim, saying, “The Philistines have brought back the ark of the Lord; come down and take it up with you.”

Israel Defeats the Philistines

Then the men of Kirjath Jearim came and took the ark of the Lord, and brought it into the house of Abinadab on the hill, and consecrated Eleazar his son to keep the ark of the Lord.

Samuel Judges Israel

So it was that the ark remained in Kirjath Jearim a long time; it was there twenty years. And all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord.

Then Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, “If you return to the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths[r] from among you, and prepare your hearts for the Lord, and serve Him only; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.” So the children of Israel put away the Baals and the [s]Ashtoreths, and served the Lord only.

And Samuel said, “Gather all Israel to Mizpah, and I will pray to the Lord for you.” So they gathered together at Mizpah, drew water, and poured it out before the Lord. And they fasted that day, and said there, “We have sinned against the Lord.” And Samuel judged the children of Israel at Mizpah.

Now when the Philistines heard that the children of Israel had gathered together at Mizpah, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the children of Israel heard of it, they were afraid of the Philistines. So the children of Israel said to Samuel, “Do not cease to cry out to the Lord our God for us, that He may save us from the hand of the Philistines.”

And Samuel took a suckling lamb and offered it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. Then Samuel cried out to the Lord for Israel, and the Lord answered him. 10 Now as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel. But the Lord thundered with a loud thunder upon the Philistines that day, and so confused them that they were overcome before Israel. 11 And the men of Israel went out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, and [t]drove them back as far as below Beth Car. 12 Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name [u]Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”

13 So the Philistines were subdued, and they did not come anymore into the territory of Israel. And the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. 14 Then the cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron to Gath; and Israel recovered its territory from the hands of the Philistines. Also there was peace between Israel and the Amorites.

15 And Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. 16 He went from year to year on a circuit to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah, and judged Israel in all those places. 17 But he always returned to Ramah, for his home was there. There he judged Israel, and there he built an altar to the Lord.

Israel Demands a King

Now it came to pass when Samuel was old that he made his sons judges over Israel. The name of his firstborn was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beersheba. But his sons did not walk in his ways; they turned aside after dishonest gain, took bribes, and perverted justice.

Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, and said to him, “Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.”

But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” So Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even to this day—with which they have forsaken Me and served other gods—so they are doing to you also. Now therefore, heed their voice. However, you shall solemnly forewarn them, and show them the behavior of the king who will reign over them.”

10 So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who asked him for a king. 11 And he said, “This will be the behavior of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots and to be his horsemen, and some will run before his chariots. 12 He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his fifties, will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and some to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. 14 And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants. 16 And he will take your male servants, your female servants, your finest [v]young men, and your donkeys, and put them to his work. 17 He will take a tenth of your sheep. And you will be his servants. 18 And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the Lord will not hear you in that day.”

19 Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, “No, but we will have a king over us, 20 that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.”

21 And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he repeated them in the hearing of the Lord. 22 So the Lord said to Samuel, “Heed their voice, and make them a king.”

And Samuel said to the men of Israel, “Every man go to his city.”

Footnotes

  1. 1 Samuel 4:1 So with MT, Tg.; LXX, Vg. add And it came to pass in those days that the Philistines gathered themselves together to fight; LXX adds further against Israel
  2. 1 Samuel 4:2 Lit. struck
  3. 1 Samuel 4:9 Lit. Be men
  4. 1 Samuel 4:10 Lit. struck down
  5. 1 Samuel 4:13 So with MT, Vg.; LXX beside the gate watching the road
  6. 1 Samuel 4:13 trembled with anxiety
  7. 1 Samuel 4:15 fixed
  8. 1 Samuel 4:20 pay any attention to
  9. 1 Samuel 4:21 Lit. Inglorious
  10. 1 Samuel 5:2 A Philistine idol
  11. 1 Samuel 5:4 So with LXX, Syr., Tg., Vg.; MT Dagon
  12. 1 Samuel 5:6 Probably bubonic plague. LXX, Vg. add And in the midst of their land rats sprang up, and there was a great death panic in the city.
  13. 1 Samuel 5:9 Vg. and they had tumors in their secret parts
  14. 1 Samuel 6:4 Lit. them
  15. 1 Samuel 6:5 ease
  16. 1 Samuel 6:9 this calamity to us
  17. 1 Samuel 6:19 Or He struck seventy men of the people and fifty oxen of a man
  18. 1 Samuel 7:3 Images of Canaanite goddesses
  19. 1 Samuel 7:4 Images of Canaanite goddesses
  20. 1 Samuel 7:11 struck them down
  21. 1 Samuel 7:12 Lit. Stone of Help
  22. 1 Samuel 8:16 LXX cattle

Hannah’s Prayer

“And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish. Then she made a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head.”
And it happened, as she continued praying before the 
Lord, that Eli watched her mouth. Now Hannah spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli thought she was drunk. So Eli said to her, “How long will you be drunk? Put your wine away from you!”
But Hannah answered and said, “No, my lord, I am a woman of sorrowful spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor intoxicating drink, but have poured out my soul before the 
Lord. Do not consider your maidservant a wicked woman, for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief I have spoken until now.”
Then Eli answered and said, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him.”

And she said, “Let your maidservant find favor in your sight.” So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.
1 Samuel 1:10-18 NKJV

Samuel, a judge and prophet over Israel came from a promise from God to a women who knew how to pray. From Samuel’s obedience to God came King Saul and King David – and from the birth line of King David came our savior. And this story all begin with a woman’s anguish and literal cries to God.

Dear Heavenly Father – As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the book of 1 Samuel 1-3 (embedded below for your convenience).

Oh Hannah, let us unlock a few secrets to your prayer – a prayer that God heard and answered with promise. A prayer with such faith it changed you. A prayer then then in turn – changed the world.

I know bitterness of soul and weeping in anguish – I hope you do not know it personally. So, if you do not know it – it is an indescribable desperation and an affliction that only God himself can comfort. Not that comfort even matters when you are that afflicted. When humans find themselves in that type of despair they seek a real and living God – a God of action; and nothing will satisfy them except an experience with grace. And we know if was grace that touched them because grace will literally transform them.

First – Hannah prayed. In a time when prayers, especially desperate ones, were brought to the priest who had the direct access to God and could petition God on your behalf – she took it to God herself. She didn’t call the prayer chain. She didn’t talk about her problem with all the sistas. She was a woman, and back then the male head of household would formally bring the prayers – yet Hannah prayed.

Second – the priest thought she was drunk because of the way she carried on. In modern words – poor girl was ugly crying at church and I am sure she wasn’t wearing waterproof makeup! When was the last time you sought the Lord with such fervency and without care of those around you (not out of line with the spirit’s flow in that moment, but in line with it and without regard to other people).  

Third – “you do not have because you do not ask”.  In James chapter 4:1-6, is a great explanation about how to take out afflictions to God. Hannah seemed to know these principles as she practiced them all. She asked for a child, and promised Him to God. She was not asking for her pleasure or for her flesh. In the second point and here, she humbled herself and God poured out more grace!

Fourth – Eli said to her that God will do it. And she believed.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 NKJV

I know it doesn’t say that she believed – but we have the evidence. We have the evidence of faith and evidence of the grace from point 3. Because it says: “and her face was no longer sad”

Grace touched her and transformed her – giving her the faith to believe – believing enough to receive the grace and the entirety of the experience turned mushy words with human struggle to understand into a solid rock of a confidently happy woman who knew she was about to receive the fullness of the blessing of the Lord!

She knew. Wasn’t anyone on earth going to convince her otherwise.
When was the last time we left the prayer closet or prayer meeting with a face that was no longer sad?! When was the last time: you let grace transform you – you let belief make you solid – you believed God. Not just believing IN God – but believing God and His promises.

Oh but the whole thing starts with fervent seeking – and when was the last time you did that?

Let me think about these questions quietly to myself for a moment – I am not exempt.

RELATIONSHIP:
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

MEMORY WORK: Hebrews 2:14 – Jesus defeated the devil!
NKJV – “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,”
NAS – “Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, so that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,”
ESV – “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,”
NLT – “Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.”
NIV – “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil”

Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

BIBLE READING: 1 Samuel 1-3 NKJV

The Family of Elkanah

Now there was a certain man of Ramathaim Zophim, of the mountains of Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, the son of [a]Elihu, the son of [b]Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. And he had two wives: the name of one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children. This man went up from his city yearly to worship and sacrifice to the Lord of hosts in Shiloh. Also the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the Lord, were there. And whenever the time came for Elkanah to make an offering, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, although the Lord had closed her womb. And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the Lord had closed her womb. So it was, year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, that she provoked her; therefore she wept and did not eat.

Hannah’s Vow

Then Elkanah her husband said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? And why is your heart grieved? Am I not better to you than ten sons?”

So Hannah arose after they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the [c]tabernacle of the Lord. 10 And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and [d]wept in anguish. 11 Then she made a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head.”

12 And it happened, as she continued praying before the Lord, that Eli watched her mouth. 13 Now Hannah spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli thought she was drunk. 14 So Eli said to her, “How long will you be drunk? Put your wine away from you!”

15 But Hannah answered and said, “No, my lord, I am a woman of sorrowful spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor intoxicating drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord. 16 Do not consider your maidservant a wicked[e] woman, for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief I have spoken until now.”

17 Then Eli answered and said, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him.”

18 And she said, “Let your maidservant find favor in your sight.” So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.

Samuel Is Born and Dedicated

19 Then they rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord, and returned and came to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her. 20 So it came to pass in the process of time that Hannah conceived and bore a son, and called his name [f]Samuel, saying, “Because I have asked for him from the Lord.”

21 Now the man Elkanah and all his house went up to offer to the Lord the yearly sacrifice and his vow. 22 But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, “Not until the child is weaned; then I will take him, that he may appear before the Lord and remain there forever.”

23 So Elkanah her husband said to her, “Do what seems best to you; wait until you have weaned him. Only let the Lord [g]establish [h]His word.” Then the woman stayed and nursed her son until she had weaned him.

24 Now when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with [i]three bulls, one ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the Lord in Shiloh. And the child was young. 25 Then they slaughtered a bull, and brought the child to Eli. 26 And she said, “O my lord! As your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood by you here, praying to the Lord. 27 For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. 28 Therefore I also have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives he shall be [j]lent to the Lord.” So they worshiped the Lord there.

Hannah’s Prayer

And Hannah prayed and said:

“My heart rejoices in the Lord;
My [k]horn is exalted in the Lord.
[l]I smile at my enemies,
Because I rejoice in Your salvation.

“No one is holy like the Lord,
For there is none besides You,
Nor is there any rock like our God.

“Talk no more so very proudly;
Let no arrogance come from your mouth,
For the Lord is the God of knowledge;
And by Him actions are weighed.

“The bows of the mighty men are broken,
And those who stumbled are girded with strength.
Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,
And the hungry have ceased to hunger.
Even the barren has borne seven,
And she who has many children has become feeble.

“The Lord kills and makes alive;
He brings down to the grave and brings up.
The Lord makes poor and makes rich;
He brings low and lifts up.
He raises the poor from the dust
And lifts the beggar from the ash heap,
To set them among princes
And make them inherit the throne of glory.

“For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s,
And He has set the world upon them.
He will guard the feet of His saints,
But the wicked shall be silent in darkness.

“For by strength no man shall prevail.
10 The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken in pieces;
From heaven He will thunder against them.
The Lord will judge the ends of the earth.

“He will give strength to His king,
And exalt the [m]horn of His anointed.”

11 Then Elkanah went to his house at Ramah. But the child [n]ministered to the Lord before Eli the priest.

The Wicked Sons of Eli

12 Now the sons of Eli were corrupt;[o] they did not know the Lord. 13 And the priests’ custom with the people was that when any man offered a sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come with a three-pronged fleshhook in his hand while the meat was boiling. 14 Then he would thrust it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; and the priest would take for himself all that the fleshhook brought up. So they did in Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there. 15 Also, before they burned the fat, the priest’s servant would come and say to the man who sacrificed, “Give meat for roasting to the priest, for he will not take boiled meat from you, but raw.”

16 And if the man said to him, “They should really burn the fat first; then you may take as much as your heart desires,” he would then answer him, “No, but you must give it now; and if not, I will take it by force.”

17 Therefore the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord, for men abhorred[p] the offering of the Lord.

Samuel’s Childhood Ministry

18 But Samuel ministered before the Lord, even as a child, wearing a linen ephod. 19 Moreover his mother used to make him a little robe, and bring it to him year by year when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. 20 And Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, and say, “The Lord give you descendants from this woman for the [q]loan that was given to the Lord.” Then they would go to their own home.

21 And the Lord visited[r] Hannah, so that she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile the child Samuel grew before the Lord.

Prophecy Against Eli’s Household

22 Now Eli was very old; and he heard everything his sons did to all Israel, [s]and how they lay with the women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. 23 So he said to them, “Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all the people. 24 No, my sons! For it is not a good report that I hear. You make the Lord’s people transgress. 25 If one man sins against another, God[t] will judge him. But if a man sins against the Lord, who will intercede for him?” Nevertheless they did not heed the voice of their father, because the Lord desired to kill them.

26 And the child Samuel grew in stature, and in favor both with the Lord and men.

27 Then a man of God came to Eli and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Did I not clearly reveal Myself to the house of your father when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh’s house? 28 Did I not choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be My priest, to offer upon My altar, to burn incense, and to wear an ephod before Me? And did I not give to the house of your father all the offerings of the children of Israel made by fire? 29 Why do you kick at My sacrifice and My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling place, and honor your sons more than Me, to make yourselves fat with the best of all the offerings of Israel My people?’ 30 Therefore the Lord God of Israel says: ‘I said indeed that your house and the house of your father would walk before Me forever.’ But now the Lord says: ‘Far be it from Me; for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed. 31 Behold, the days are coming that I will cut off your [u]arm and the arm of your father’s house, so that there will not be an old man in your house. 32 And you will see an enemy in My dwelling place, despite all the good which God does for Israel. And there shall not be an old man in your house forever. 33 But any of your men whom I do not cut off from My altar shall consume your eyes and grieve your heart. And all the descendants of your house shall die in the flower of their age. 34 Now this shall be a sign to you that will come upon your two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas: in one day they shall die, both of them. 35 Then I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who shall do according to what is in My heart and in My mind. I will build him a sure house, and he shall walk before My anointed forever. 36 And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left in your house will come and bow down to him for a piece of silver and a morsel of bread, and say, “Please, [v]put me in one of the priestly positions, that I may eat a piece of bread.” ’ ”

Samuel’s First Prophecy

Now the boy Samuel ministered to the Lord before Eli. And the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation. And it came to pass at that time, while Eli was lying down in his place, and when his eyes had begun to grow so dim that he could not see, and before the lamp of God went out in the [w]tabernacle of the Lord where the ark of God was, and while Samuel was lying down, that the Lord called Samuel. And he answered, “Here I am!” So he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.”

And he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” And he went and lay down.

Then the Lord called yet again, “Samuel!”

So Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” He answered, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” (Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor was the word of the Lord yet revealed to him.)

And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. So he arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you did call me.”

Then Eli perceived that the Lord had called the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and it shall be, if He calls you, that you must say, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

10 Now the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”

And Samuel answered, “Speak, for Your servant hears.”

11 Then the Lord said to Samuel: “Behold, I will do something in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. 12 In that day I will perform against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 13 For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not [x]restrain them. 14 And therefore I have sworn to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.”

15 So Samuel lay down until [y]morning, and opened the doors of the house of the Lord. And Samuel was afraid to tell Eli the vision. 16 Then Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son!”

He answered, “Here I am.”

17 And he said, “What is the word that the Lord spoke to you? Please do not hide it from me. God do so to you, and more also, if you hide anything from me of all the things that He said to you.” 18 Then Samuel told him everything, and hid nothing from him. And he said, “It is the Lord. Let Him do what seems good to Him.”

19 So Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words [z]fall to the ground. 20 And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel had been [aa]established as a prophet of the Lord. 21 Then the Lord appeared again in Shiloh. For the Lord revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the Lord.

Footnotes

  1. 1 Samuel 1:1 Eliel, 1 Chr. 6:34
  2. 1 Samuel 1:1 Toah, 1 Chr. 6:34
  3. 1 Samuel 1:9 palace or temple, Heb. heykal
  4. 1 Samuel 1:10 Lit. wept greatly
  5. 1 Samuel 1:16 Lit. daughter of Belial
  6. 1 Samuel 1:20 Lit. Heard by God
  7. 1 Samuel 1:23 confirm
  8. 1 Samuel 1:23 So with MT, Tg., Vg.; DSS, LXX, Syr. your
  9. 1 Samuel 1:24 DSS, LXX, Syr. a three-year-old bull
  10. 1 Samuel 1:28 granted
  11. 1 Samuel 2:1 Strength
  12. 1 Samuel 2:1 Lit. My mouth is enlarged
  13. 1 Samuel 2:10 Strength
  14. 1 Samuel 2:11 served
  15. 1 Samuel 2:12 Lit. sons of Belial
  16. 1 Samuel 2:17 despised
  17. 1 Samuel 2:20 gift
  18. 1 Samuel 2:21 attended to
  19. 1 Samuel 2:22 So with MT, Tg., Vg.; DSS, LXX omit rest of verse
  20. 1 Samuel 2:25 Tg. the Judge
  21. 1 Samuel 2:31 strength
  22. 1 Samuel 2:36 assign
  23. 1 Samuel 3:3 palace or temple
  24. 1 Samuel 3:13 Lit. rebuke
  25. 1 Samuel 3:15 So with MT, Tg., Vg.; LXX adds and he arose in the morning
  26. 1 Samuel 3:19 fail
  27. 1 Samuel 3:20 confirmed

Ruth and Redemption

“For wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.” Ruth 1:16 NKJV

Dedication, promise and commitment like this – wow! I wish we could spend a week in this book, especially after studying Judges.

Dear Heavenly Father – As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the book of Ruth (embedded below for your convenience).

Back in October we did a 6 day study of the book of Ruth – day one is found here: https://ifnotforgrace.blog/2020/10/19/gods-redeeming-grace-part-1/ and then you can scroll through to read all 6 days if you’d like.  I did.  It was so nice to read after Judges. A beautiful and sweet redemption story following a book that exposed all the raw dirt of how bad humanity can be.  See How God did that?  He reminds us of how bad we can be then shows us how GOOD His redemption is!!!

When Naomi and Ruth found themselves surrounded by nothing and loss – they turned to God by returning to Naomi’s home. Now, look – when all seems loss, when your sin is exposed, even if you’ve sunk to the depth we read of in Judges… return to God! I mean it – I did. It is the only way out everything else just digs you in deeper.

Ask for forgiveness: “Lord, please forgive me for sinning by doing this specific thing or things…..” As hard as it is, and even though you know what it is and God knows everything, so He already knows – there is power to overcome it by owning it! It is faith and grace in action! And even pray it out loud if you want to have some real earth shaking redemption! I mean it. You may think it sound silly and may feel silly but I have had an experience that gives me the authority to recommend it – try God on this one, He never disappoints!
(Also forgive others so you might be forgiven, Matthew 6:14-15)

I hate feeling like I am separated from God when I sin – but more, I feel like first I must be punished, that I somehow take advantage of grace when I accidently sin. I was overcome by temptation and flesh – I did not plan it, I did not seek it. Yet I feel like I might as well have sunk to the depth of depravity. So, before any of that can fester – I admit my sin to God and ask forgiveness. Then I ask for His help to NOT do it again. I ask Him to show me where in that situation I did not take the way out that He gave me. I ask so I can see it more clearly the next time – the devil will always tempt you again so there will be a next time.

I have struggled with addiction in the past – there is NOTHING worse than a sin you cannot stop no matter how much you try.  But once I overcame addiction – I realized other sins also have strongholds on us. I realized there are other ways we as humans are bent towards sin. And you do not need to be in bondage to addiction or fighting a stronghold to lose a battle against something you feel is wrong yet you are tempted to do it.

Ruth chose to serve the Lord. It wasn’t easy and neither will our choice to serve Him be. She went to a foreign land, like we become new creatures in a foreign place – we are made new and suddenly we do not fit in and everything seems foreign. She became a field worker, like we have to submit to the work of the Lord, we must be His harvesters and harvesting is never easy. She reaps where she did not sow – but she also doesn’t get to keep it – only a little. We are to bring in the souls for Christ, we reap where we did not sow – and Christ keeps the harvest.
She had to submit to these new rules which required her to marry a man she did not know.  We have to submit to these new rules and become the bride of Christ, who we get to know after we commit to this (as Ruth surely got to know Boaz).
BUT – she is blessed and redeemed. God restored all the loss. God restored – and her descendants brought forth King David and eventually the Messiah who then redeemed all of us!

We must first choose in our loss to follow God, ask forgiveness. We must turn from these sins and strive to live God’s way. And we must remember who we are – A child of God by adoption, just like Ruth.

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:1 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

MEMORY WORK: Hebrews 2:14 – Jesus defeated the devil!
NKJV – “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,”
NAS – “Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, so that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,”
ESV – “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,”
NLT – “Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.”
NIV – “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil”

Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

BIBLE READING: Ruth 1-4 NKJV

Elimelech’s Family Goes to Moab

Now it came to pass, in the days when the judges [a]ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem, Judah, went to [b]dwell in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. The name of the man was Elimelech, the name of his wife was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion—Ephrathites of Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to the country of Moab and remained there. Then Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, died; and she was left, and her two sons. Now they took wives of the women of Moab: the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth. And they [c]dwelt there about ten years. Then both Mahlon and Chilion also died; so the woman survived her two sons and her husband.

Naomi Returns with Ruth

Then she arose with her daughters-in-law that she might return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the country of Moab that the Lord had visited[d] His people by giving them bread. Therefore she went out from the place where she was, and her two daughters-in-law with her; and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah. And Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each to her mother’s house. The Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. The Lord grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband.”

So she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept. 10 And they said to her, “Surely we will return with you to your people.”

11 But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Are there still sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? 12 Turn back, my daughters, go—for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, if I should have a husband tonight and should also bear sons, 13 would you wait for them till they were grown? Would you restrain yourselves from having husbands? No, my daughters; for it grieves me very much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord has gone out against me!”

14 Then they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.

15 And she said, “Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.”

16 But Ruth said:

“Entreat[e] me not to leave you,
Or to turn back from following after you;
For wherever you go, I will go;
And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people,
And your God, my God.
17 Where you die, I will die,
And there will I be buried.
The Lord do so to me, and more also,
If anything but death parts you and me.”

18 When she saw that she [f]was determined to go with her, she stopped speaking to her.

19 Now the two of them went until they came to Bethlehem. And it happened, when they had come to Bethlehem, that all the city was excited because of them; and the women said, “Is this Naomi?”

20 But she said to them, “Do not call me [g]Naomi; call me [h]Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. 21 I went out full, and the Lord has brought me home again empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has testified against me, and [i]the Almighty has afflicted me?”

22 So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess her daughter-in-law with her, who returned from the country of Moab. Now they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.

Ruth Meets Boaz

There was a relative of Naomi’s husband, a man of great wealth, of the family of Elimelech. His name was Boaz. So Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, “Please let me go to the field, and glean heads of grain after him in whose sight I may find favor.”

And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.”

Then she left, and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers. And she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech.

Now behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said to the reapers, “The Lord be with you!”

And they answered him, “The Lord bless you!”

Then Boaz said to his servant who was in charge of the reapers, “Whose young woman is this?”

So the servant who was in charge of the reapers answered and said, “It is the young Moabite woman who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab. And she said, ‘Please let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves.’ So she came and has continued from morning until now, though she rested a little in the house.”

Then Boaz said to Ruth, “You will listen, my daughter, will you not? Do not go to glean in another field, nor go from here, but stay close by my young women. Let your eyes be on the field which they reap, and go after them. Have I not commanded the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink from what the young men have drawn.”

10 So she fell on her face, bowed down to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?”

11 And Boaz answered and said to her, “It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before. 12 The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.”

13 Then she said, “Let me find favor in your sight, my lord; for you have comforted me, and have spoken [j]kindly to your maidservant, though I am not like one of your maidservants.”

14 Now Boaz said to her at mealtime, “Come here, and eat of the bread, and dip your piece of bread in the vinegar.” So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed parched grain to her; and she ate and was satisfied, and kept some back. 15 And when she rose up to [k]glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not [l]reproach her. 16 Also let grain from the bundles fall purposely for her; leave it that she may glean, and do not rebuke her.”

17 So she gleaned in the field until evening, and beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley. 18 Then she took it up and went into the city, and her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned. So she brought out and gave to her what she had kept back after she had been satisfied.

19 And her mother-in-law said to her, “Where have you gleaned today? And where did you work? Blessed be the one who took notice of you.”

So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked, and said, “The man’s name with whom I worked today is Boaz.”

20 Then Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “Blessed be he of the Lord, who has not forsaken His kindness to the living and the dead!” And Naomi said to her, “This man is a relation of ours, one of [m]our close relatives.”

21 Ruth the Moabitess said, “He also said to me, ‘You shall stay close by my young men until they have finished all my harvest.’ ”

22 And Naomi said to Ruth her daughter-in-law, “It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his young women, and that people do not [n]meet you in any other field.” 23 So she stayed close by the young women of Boaz, to glean until the end of barley harvest and wheat harvest; and she dwelt with her mother-in-law.

Ruth’s Redemption Assured

Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, shall I not seek security[o] for you, that it may be well with you? Now Boaz, whose young women you were with, is he not our relative? In fact, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. Therefore wash yourself and anoint yourself, put on your best garment and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. Then it shall be, when he lies down, that you shall notice the place where he lies; and you shall go in, uncover his feet, and lie down; and he will tell you what you should do.”

And she said to her, “All that you say to me I will do.”

So she went down to the threshing floor and did according to all that her mother-in-law instructed her. And after Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was cheerful, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain; and she came softly, uncovered his feet, and lay down.

Now it happened at midnight that the man was startled, and turned himself; and there, a woman was lying at his feet. And he said, “Who are you?”

So she answered, “I am Ruth, your maidservant. Take[p] your maidservant under your wing, for you are a [q]close relative.”

10 Then he said, “Blessed are you of the Lord, my daughter! For you have shown more kindness at the end than at the beginning, in that you did not go after young men, whether poor or rich. 11 And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you request, for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman. 12 Now it is true that I am a close relative; however, there is a relative closer than I. 13 Stay this night, and in the morning it shall be that if he will perform the duty of a close relative for you—good; let him do it. But if he does not want to perform the duty for you, then I will perform the duty for you, as the Lord lives! Lie down until morning.”

14 So she lay at his feet until morning, and she arose before one could recognize another. Then he said, “Do not let it be known that the woman came to the threshing floor.” 15 Also he said, “Bring the [r]shawl that is on you and hold it.” And when she held it, he measured six ephahs of barley, and laid it on her. Then [s]she went into the city.

16 When she came to her mother-in-law, she said, [t]Is that you, my daughter?”

Then she told her all that the man had done for her. 17 And she said, “These six ephahs of barley he gave me; for he said to me, ‘Do not go empty-handed to your mother-in-law.’ ”

18 Then she said, “Sit still, my daughter, until you know how the matter will turn out; for the man will not rest until he has concluded the matter this day.”

Boaz Redeems Ruth

Now Boaz went up to the gate and sat down there; and behold, the close relative of whom Boaz had spoken came by. So Boaz said, “Come aside, [u]friend, sit down here.” So he came aside and sat down. And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, “Sit down here.” So they sat down. Then he said to the close relative, “Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, sold the piece of land which belonged to our brother Elimelech. And I thought to [v]inform you, saying, ‘Buy it back in the presence of the inhabitants and the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, redeem it; but if [w]you will not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know; for there is no one but you to redeem it, and I am next after you.’ ”

And he said, “I will redeem it.

Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you must also buy it from Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to [x]perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance.”

And the close relative said, “I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I ruin my own inheritance. You redeem my right of redemption for yourself, for I cannot redeem it.

Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning redeeming and exchanging, to confirm anything: one man took off his sandal and gave it to the other, and this was a confirmation in Israel.

Therefore the close relative said to Boaz, “Buy it for yourself.” So he took off his sandal. And Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “You are witnesses this day that I have bought all that was Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s, from the hand of Naomi. 10 Moreover, Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, I have acquired as my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brethren and from [y]his position at the gate. You are witnesses this day.”

11 And all the people who were at the gate, and the elders, said, “We are witnesses. The Lord make the woman who is coming to your house like Rachel and Leah, the two who built the house of Israel; and may you prosper in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. 12 May your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring which the Lord will give you from this young woman.”

Descendants of Boaz and Ruth

13 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife; and when he went in to her, the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son. 14 Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a [z]close relative; and may his name be famous in Israel! 15 And may he be to you a restorer of life and a [aa]nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has borne him.” 16 Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her bosom, and became a nurse to him. 17 Also the neighbor women gave him a name, saying, “There is a son born to Naomi.” And they called his name Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David.

18 Now this is the genealogy of Perez: Perez begot Hezron; 19 Hezron begot Ram, and Ram begot Amminadab; 20 Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon;[ab] 21 Salmon begot Boaz, and Boaz begot Obed; 22 Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David.

Footnotes

  1. Ruth 1:1 Lit. judged
  2. Ruth 1:1 As a resident alien
  3. Ruth 1:4 lived
  4. Ruth 1:6 attended to
  5. Ruth 1:16 Urge me not
  6. Ruth 1:18 Lit. made herself strong to go
  7. Ruth 1:20 Lit. Pleasant
  8. Ruth 1:20 Lit. Bitter
  9. Ruth 1:21 Heb. Shaddai
  10. Ruth 2:13 Lit. to the heart of
  11. Ruth 2:15 Gather after the reapers
  12. Ruth 2:15 rebuke
  13. Ruth 2:20 our redeemers, Heb. goalenu
  14. Ruth 2:22 encounter
  15. Ruth 3:1 Lit. rest
  16. Ruth 3:9 Or Spread the corner of your garment over your maidservant
  17. Ruth 3:9 redeemer, Heb. goel
  18. Ruth 3:15 cloak
  19. Ruth 3:15 Many Heb. mss., Syr., Vg. she; MT, LXX, Tg. he
  20. Ruth 3:16 Or How are you,
  21. Ruth 4:1 Heb. peloni almoni, lit. so and so
  22. Ruth 4:4 Lit. uncover your ear
  23. Ruth 4:4 So with many Heb. mss., LXX, Syr., Tg., Vg.; MT he
  24. Ruth 4:5 Lit. raise up
  25. Ruth 4:10 Probably his civic office
  26. Ruth 4:14 redeemer, Heb. goel
  27. Ruth 4:15 sustainer
  28. Ruth 4:20 Heb. Salmah

Salvation from our sins

to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. 11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 1:6-12 NKJV

Let me repeat verse 7: In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace. 

Here Paul is writing to the Ephesian church and they are doing a lot correct – they are blessed, they have wisdom and prudence, thy understand the mystery of His will, they understand His purpose (in heaven and earth) and they show growth – their faith is begin to bear the works. Sounds like us. We can relate. We study, we press in, we seek His will, we try to do what is right and rely on His strength when we are weak. We know it’s not by our might, but by grace – God does it for us, through us and in us.

Dear Heavenly Father – As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is in the book of Judges, chapters 19-21 (embedded below for your convenience).

But before we read it – coming from our perspective of being made righteousness through grace… let’s remember that the purpose of the Letter to the Ephesians was to correct their sin problem, specifically (Ephesians 4:25-32) them grieving the Spirit of the Lord by continuing in sin or sins. Then Paul lists a few of the sins: lying, wrath, giving place to the devil, stealing, corrupt words, etc.

Thank God we are reading this the same time we celebrate the resurrection of Christ!!! Because there is NO getting away from the sin problem we have! Yes, I have a sin problem and so do you – if it magically disappeared, we would no longer need Jesus or a relationship with God!

Judges has 12 judges: Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah, Gideon, Tola, Jair, Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon, and Samson. Yes – we have read them all. Each Judge a bit more fallible than the last. And the people of Israel a little worse and worse with each round. So shouldn’t the book be over? I remember the first time I read it and I thought that these last few chapters would turn everything around and soon everything would be ok in a nice little moral lesson bow.

Then I read chapter 19 for the first time – and it made me cry. Why?! Why?! Why were the men so evil? Why did they put his wife out to them? Why did he cut her…. Maybe I shouldn’t give away too many spoilers for those who haven’t read it. What is hard is knowing this is a historical book – knowing these are historical events.

The imagery – coming to the center of the city, the perverse men banging on the door, the response to give over the women… it is all very reflective of the angels coming to town in Sodom and Gomorrah and Lot offering his daughters. It is all very “the days of Noah” like.  It’s all so very evil.

The Bible says the last days will be as the days of Noah and like Sodom and Gomorrah.  And Jesus said it was the last days when He walked the earth – so this is about 2000 years closer to the end of the last days – the period called the Dispensation of Grace.  We read how quickly and easily mankind falls into moral decay. We see that women and children of sinners have often been subject to the same wrath when the grace ran out. We see these patterns in the Bible and then somehow say – but I am good.

It is pride.

None of us are good. We are all worthy of hell fire and the wrath of God. The Benjaminites did not hand over the evil men – they defended them and were destroyed. So even when we aren’t the one sinning, we have defended wicked things and wicked people. 

Literally – the literary device used in the book of Judges is to continue to point out the evil of mankind. The reason is so the reader juxtaposes it to His own self-righteousness.  We say we know our righteousness isn’t our own – but we also pretend we couldn’t be seen in this story in Judges or in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah or in the days of Noah – but here we are and we can be seen.
 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes. ” Which is How this Book ends – and I honestly haven’t had a day go by recently without a Christian telling me what is right in their eyes.

As I said yesterday briefly – a little sin leads to more and more until you are submerged in sin. The temptation can overcome you in a brief moment – faster than you realize. Sometimes.
“Well, I don’t think it is wrong – it isn’t a stumbling stone for me.” or “I can justify it…….” Or many other similar manner of speech – wherein I am no exception and I am sure you aren’t as well.

We will never appreciate grace and all that Christ accomplished on the cross – we will never learn to be humble and fully trust and rely on God – we will never fully grasp all that is God’s struggle to save us from ourselves…. If we always just blame the enemy and never face the evil that is our own humanity.

We are bad. We need a god – we need The One True Living Almighty Powerful God!  We need to be saved from our sins! So let me repeat verse 7 from the opening passage: In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace. 

RELATIONSHIP:
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

MEMORY WORK: Hebrews 2:14 – Jesus defeated the devil!
NKJV – “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,”
NAS – “Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, so that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,”
ESV – “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,”
NLT – “Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.”
NIV – “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil”

Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

BIBLE READING: Judges 19-21 NKJV

The Levite’s Concubine

19 And it came to pass in those days, when there was no king in Israel, that there was a certain Levite staying in the remote mountains of Ephraim. He took for himself a concubine from Bethlehem in Judah. But his concubine played the harlot against him, and went away from him to her father’s house at Bethlehem in Judah, and was there four whole months. Then her husband arose and went after her, to speak [a]kindly to her and bring her back, having his servant and a couple of donkeys with him. So she brought him into her father’s house; and when the father of the young woman saw him, he was glad to meet him. Now his father-in-law, the young woman’s father, detained him; and he stayed with him three days. So they ate and drank and lodged there.

Then it came to pass on the fourth day that they arose early in the morning, and he stood to depart; but the young woman’s father said to his son-in-law, “Refresh your heart with a morsel of bread, and afterward go your way.”

So they sat down, and the two of them ate and drank together. Then the young woman’s father said to the man, “Please be content to stay all night, and let your heart be merry.” And when the man stood to depart, his father-in-law urged him; so he lodged there again. Then he arose early in the morning on the fifth day to depart, but the young woman’s father said, “Please refresh your heart.” So they delayed until afternoon; and both of them ate.

And when the man stood to depart—he and his concubine and his servant—his father-in-law, the young woman’s father, said to him, “Look, the day is now drawing toward evening; please spend the night. See, the day is coming to an end; lodge here, that your heart may be merry. Tomorrow go your way early, so that you may get [b]home.”

10 However, the man was not willing to spend that night; so he rose and departed, and came opposite Jebus (that is, Jerusalem). With him were the two saddled donkeys; his concubine was also with him. 11 They were near Jebus, and the day was far spent; and the servant said to his master, “Come, please, and let us turn aside into this city of the Jebusites and lodge in it.”

12 But his master said to him, “We will not turn aside here into a city of foreigners, who are not of the children of Israel; we will go on to Gibeah.” 13 So he said to his servant, “Come, let us draw near to one of these places, and spend the night in Gibeah or in Ramah.” 14 And they passed by and went their way; and the sun went down on them near Gibeah, which belongs to Benjamin. 15 They turned aside there to go in to lodge in Gibeah. And when he went in, he sat down in the open square of the city, for no one would take them into his house to spend the night.

16 Just then an old man came in from his work in the field at evening, who also was from the mountains of Ephraim; he was staying in Gibeah, whereas the men of the place were Benjamites. 17 And when he raised his eyes, he saw the traveler in the open square of the city; and the old man said, “Where are you going, and where do you come from?”

18 So he said to him, “We are passing from Bethlehem in Judah toward the remote mountains of Ephraim; I am from there. I went to Bethlehem in Judah; now I am going to the house of the Lord. But there is no one who will take me into his house, 19 although we have both straw and fodder for our donkeys, and bread and wine for myself, for your female servant, and for the young man who is with your servant; there is no lack of anything.”

20 And the old man said, “Peace be with you! However, let all your needs be my responsibility; only do not spend the night in the open square.” 21 So he brought him into his house, and gave fodder to the donkeys. And they washed their feet, and ate and drank.

Gibeah’s Crime

22 As they were enjoying themselves, suddenly certain men of the city, perverted[c] men, surrounded the house and beat on the door. They spoke to the master of the house, the old man, saying, “Bring out the man who came to your house, that we may know him carnally!

23 But the man, the master of the house, went out to them and said to them, “No, my brethren! I beg you, do not act so wickedly! Seeing this man has come into my house, do not commit this outrage. 24 Look, here is my virgin daughter and [d]the man’s concubine; let me bring them out now. Humble them, and do with them as you please; but to this man do not do such a vile thing!” 25 But the men would not heed him. So the man took his concubine and brought her out to them. And they knew her and abused her all night until morning; and when the day began to break, they let her go.

26 Then the woman came as the day was dawning, and fell down at the door of the man’s house where her master was, till it was light.

27 When her master arose in the morning, and opened the doors of the house and went out to go his way, there was his concubine, fallen at the door of the house with her hands on the threshold. 28 And he said to her, “Get up and let us be going.” But there was no answer. So the man lifted her onto the donkey; and the man got up and went to his place.

29 When he entered his house he took a knife, laid hold of his concubine, and divided her into twelve pieces, [e]limb by limb, and sent her throughout all the territory of Israel. 30 And so it was that all who saw it said, “No such deed has been done or seen from the day that the children of Israel came up from the land of Egypt until this day. Consider it, confer, and speak up!”

Israel’s War with the Benjamites

20 So all the children of Israel came out, from Dan to Beersheba, as well as from the land of Gilead, and the congregation gathered together as one man before the Lord at Mizpah. And the leaders of all the people, all the tribes of Israel, presented themselves in the assembly of the people of God, four hundred thousand foot soldiers who drew the sword. (Now the children of Benjamin heard that the children of Israel had gone up to Mizpah.)

Then the children of Israel said, “Tell us, how did this wicked deed happen?”

So the Levite, the husband of the woman who was murdered, answered and said, “My concubine and I went into Gibeah, which belongs to Benjamin, to spend the night. And the men of Gibeah rose against me, and surrounded the house at night because of me. They intended to kill me, but instead they ravished my concubine so that she died. So I took hold of my concubine, cut her in pieces, and sent her throughout all the territory of the inheritance of Israel, because they committed lewdness and outrage in Israel. Look! All of you are children of Israel; give your advice and counsel here and now!”

So all the people arose as one man, saying, “None of us will go to his tent, nor will any turn back to his house; but now this is the thing which we will do to Gibeah: We will go up against it by lot. 10 We will take ten men out of every hundred throughout all the tribes of Israel, a hundred out of every thousand, and a thousand out of every ten thousand, to make provisions for the people, that when they come to Gibeah in Benjamin, they may repay all the vileness that they have done in Israel.” 11 So all the men of Israel were gathered against the city, united together as one man.

12 Then the tribes of Israel sent men through all the tribe of Benjamin, saying, “What is this wickedness that has occurred among you? 13 Now therefore, deliver up the men, the [f]perverted men who are in Gibeah, that we may put them to death and remove the evil from Israel!” But the children of Benjamin would not listen to the voice of their brethren, the children of Israel. 14 Instead, the children of Benjamin gathered together from their cities to Gibeah, to go to battle against the children of Israel. 15 And from their cities at that time the children of Benjamin numbered twenty-six thousand men who drew the sword, besides the inhabitants of Gibeah, who numbered seven hundred select men. 16 Among all this people were seven hundred select men who were left-handed; every one could sling a stone at a hair’s breadth and not miss. 17 Now besides Benjamin, the men of Israel numbered four hundred thousand men who drew the sword; all of these were men of war.

18 Then the children of Israel arose and went up to [g]the house of God to inquire of God. They said, “Which of us shall go up first to battle against the children of Benjamin?”

The Lord said, “Judah first!”

19 So the children of Israel rose in the morning and encamped against Gibeah. 20 And the men of Israel went out to battle against Benjamin, and the men of Israel put themselves in battle array to fight against them at Gibeah. 21 Then the children of Benjamin came out of Gibeah, and on that day cut down to the ground twenty-two thousand men of the Israelites. 22 And the people, that is, the men of Israel, encouraged themselves and again formed the battle line at the place where they had put themselves in array on the first day. 23 Then the children of Israel went up and wept before the Lord until evening, and asked counsel of the Lord, saying, “Shall I again draw near for battle against the children of my brother Benjamin?”

And the Lord said, “Go up against him.”

24 So the children of Israel approached the children of Benjamin on the second day. 25 And Benjamin went out against them from Gibeah on the second day, and cut down to the ground eighteen thousand more of the children of Israel; all these drew the sword.

26 Then all the children of Israel, that is, all the people, went up and came to [h]the house of God and wept. They sat there before the Lord and fasted that day until evening; and they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord. 27 So the children of Israel inquired of the Lord (the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days, 28 and Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, stood before it in those days), saying, “Shall I yet again go out to battle against the children of my brother Benjamin, or shall I cease?”

And the Lord said, “Go up, for tomorrow I will deliver them into your hand.”

29 Then Israel set men in ambush all around Gibeah. 30 And the children of Israel went up against the children of Benjamin on the third day, and put themselves in battle array against Gibeah as at the other times. 31 So the children of Benjamin went out against the people, and were drawn away from the city. They began to strike down and kill some of the people, as at the other times, in the highways (one of which goes up to Bethel and the other to Gibeah) and in the field, about thirty men of Israel. 32 And the children of Benjamin said, “They are defeated before us, as at first.”

But the children of Israel said, “Let us flee and draw them away from the city to the highways.” 33 So all the men of Israel rose from their place and put themselves in battle array at Baal Tamar. Then Israel’s men in ambush burst forth from their position in the plain of Geba. 34 And ten thousand select men from all Israel came against Gibeah, and the battle was fierce. But [i]the Benjamites did not know that disaster was upon them. 35 The Lord [j]defeated Benjamin before Israel. And the children of Israel destroyed that day twenty-five thousand one hundred Benjamites; all these drew the sword.

36 So the children of Benjamin saw that they were defeated. The men of Israel had given ground to the Benjamites, because they relied on the men in ambush whom they had set against Gibeah. 37 And the men in ambush quickly rushed upon Gibeah; the men in ambush spread out and struck the whole city with the edge of the sword. 38 Now the appointed signal between the men of Israel and the men in ambush was that they would make a great cloud of smoke rise up from the city, 39 whereupon the men of Israel would turn in battle. Now Benjamin had begun [k]to strike and kill about thirty of the men of Israel. For they said, “Surely they are defeated before us, as in the first battle.” 40 But when the cloud began to rise from the city in a column of smoke, the Benjamites looked behind them, and there was the whole city going up in smoke to heaven. 41 And when the men of Israel turned back, the men of Benjamin panicked, for they saw that disaster had come upon them. 42 Therefore they [l]turned their backs before the men of Israel in the direction of the wilderness; but the battle overtook them, and whoever came out of the cities they destroyed in their midst. 43 They surrounded the Benjamites, chased them, and easily trampled them down as far as the front of Gibeah toward the east. 44 And eighteen thousand men of Benjamin fell; all these were men of valor. 45 Then [m]they turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon; and they cut down five thousand of them on the highways. Then they pursued them relentlessly up to Gidom, and killed two thousand of them. 46 So all who fell of Benjamin that day were twenty-five thousand men who drew the sword; all these were [n]men of valor.

47 But six hundred men turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon, and they stayed at the rock of Rimmon for four months. 48 And the men of Israel turned back against the children of Benjamin, and struck them down with the edge of the sword—from every city, men and beasts, all who were found. They also set fire to all the cities they came to.

Wives Provided for the Benjamites

21 Now the men of Israel had sworn an oath at Mizpah, saying, “None of us shall give his daughter to Benjamin as a wife.” Then the people came to [o]the house of God, and remained there before God till evening. They lifted up their voices and wept bitterly, and said, “O Lord God of Israel, why has this come to pass in Israel, that today there should be one tribe missing in Israel?”

So it was, on the next morning, that the people rose early and built an altar there, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. The children of Israel said, “Who is there among all the tribes of Israel who did not come up with the assembly to the Lord?” For they had made a great oath concerning anyone who had not come up to the Lord at Mizpah, saying, “He shall surely be put to death.” And the children of Israel grieved for Benjamin their brother, and said, “One tribe is cut off from Israel today. What shall we do for wives for those who remain, seeing we have sworn by the Lord that we will not give them our daughters as wives?”

And they said, “What one is there from the tribes of Israel who did not come up to Mizpah to the Lord?” And, in fact, no one had come to the camp from Jabesh Gilead to the assembly. For when the people were counted, indeed, not one of the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead was there. 10 So the congregation sent out there twelve thousand of their most valiant men, and commanded them, saying, “Go and strike the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead with the edge of the sword, including the women and children. 11 And this is the thing that you shall do: You shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman who has known a man intimately.” 12 So they found among the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead four hundred young virgins who had not known a man intimately; and they brought them to the camp at Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan.

13 Then the whole congregation sent word to the children of Benjamin who were at the rock of Rimmon, and announced peace to them. 14 So Benjamin came back at that time, and they gave them the women whom they had saved alive of the women of Jabesh Gilead; and yet they had not found enough for them.

15 And the people grieved for Benjamin, because the Lord had made a void in the tribes of Israel.

16 Then the elders of the congregation said, “What shall we do for wives for those who remain, since the women of Benjamin have been destroyed?” 17 And they said, “There must be an inheritance for the survivors of Benjamin, that a tribe may not be destroyed from Israel. 18 However, we cannot give them wives from our daughters, for the children of Israel have sworn an oath, saying, ‘Cursed be the one who gives a wife to Benjamin.’ ” 19 Then they said, “In fact, there is a yearly feast of the Lord in Shiloh, which is north of Bethel, on the east side of the highway that goes up from Bethel to Shechem, and south of Lebonah.”

20 Therefore they instructed the children of Benjamin, saying, “Go, lie in wait in the vineyards, 21 and watch; and just when the daughters of Shiloh come out to perform their dances, then come out from the vineyards, and every man catch a wife for himself from the daughters of Shiloh; then go to the land of Benjamin. 22 Then it shall be, when their fathers or their brothers come to us to complain, that we will say to them, ‘Be kind to them for our sakes, because we did not take a wife for any of them in the war; for it is not as though you have given the women to them at this time, making yourselves guilty of your oath.’ ”

23 And the children of Benjamin did so; they took enough wives for their number from those who danced, whom they caught. Then they went and returned to their inheritance, and they rebuilt the cities and dwelt in them. 24 So the children of Israel departed from there at that time, every man to his tribe and family; they went out from there, every man to his inheritance.

25 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

Footnotes

  1. Judges 19:3 Lit. to her heart
  2. Judges 19:9 Lit. to your tent
  3. Judges 19:22 Lit. sons of Belial
  4. Judges 19:24 Lit. his
  5. Judges 19:29 Lit. with her bones
  6. Judges 20:13 Lit. sons of Belial
  7. Judges 20:18 Or Bethel
  8. Judges 20:26 Or Bethel
  9. Judges 20:34 Lit. they
  10. Judges 20:35 Lit. struck
  11. Judges 20:39 Lit. to strike the slain ones
  12. Judges 20:42 fled
  13. Judges 20:45 LXX the rest
  14. Judges 20:46 valiant warriors
  15. Judges 21:2 Or Bethel

Abbreviated Devotional (April 5)

Since today is Resurrection Sunday, and I was busy with meetings on Saturday, I was unable to prepare a devotional today for April 5th. I suppose it is just as well as we see the Israelites and their judges compromising more and more. I love you all and there isn’t much to say except don’t be like Sampson or like the Israelites!

“A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” Galatians 5:9 KJV
And a little compromise leads to blatant sin. And sin leads you places you never thought you’d go, right Sampson?! I tell you I am a sinner – you are too. We all have sin.  We all have a struggle with our flesh and sin. (Just read what Paul says about it in Romans 3)

In the book of Judges we see the Israelites consistently losing their struggle – and God ALWAYS restores. God ALWAYS comes back in and saves. God ALWAYS stays steadfast in His love for them. Each time their sin is worse and worse. And each time God never changes. This is steadfast characteristic of God is there for us as well – therefore remember to repent, don’t beat yourself up and that after there is no condemnation!! (Romans 6)

So I suppose it is well, that I do not elaborate on the word – I think this book’s emphasis on the depravity of mankind is enough.  It is Resurrection Sunday and for you it is the day after – we should rejoice because Jesus finished the work on the cross so that this repetitive cycle and struggle can be stopped and through Grace we can be transformed.  Yes, if we are honest, we each have some struggle that keeps us in the cycle. We seem to overcome one sin at a time and after each one is conquered, we then see another rise up. We are a deeply flawed creation. And we work out our salvation slowly conquering our fleshly desires and fighting against temptation and sin.

If not for grace we would be trapped without being able to conquer each – all we needed was Jesus and the work He completed on the cross and through His resurrection!

Dear Heavenly Father, Please open my understanding as I read the Bible so that I may be able to know you better. Please help your word be planted in my mind, so I may recall it as needed. Bless me with wisdom and knowledge, please. In the name of Jesus we pray ~ amen

RELATIONSHIP:
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

MEMORY WORK: Hebrews 2:14 – Jesus defeated the devil!
NKJV – “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,”
NAS – “Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, so that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,”
ESV – “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,”
NLT – “Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.”
NIV – “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil”

Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

BIBLE READING: Judges 16-18  NKJV

Samson and Delilah

16 Now Samson went to Gaza and saw a harlot there, and went in to her. When the Gazites were told, “Samson has come here!” they surrounded the place and lay in wait for him all night at the gate of the city. They were quiet all night, saying, “In the morning, when it is daylight, we will kill him.” And Samson lay low till midnight; then he arose at midnight, took hold of the doors of the gate of the city and the two gateposts, pulled them up, bar and all, put them on his shoulders, and carried them to the top of the hill that faces Hebron.

Afterward it happened that he loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. And the lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her, “Entice him, and find out where his great strength lies, and by what means we may overpower him, that we may bind him to afflict him; and every one of us will give you eleven hundred pieces of silver.”

So Delilah said to Samson, “Please tell me where your great strength lies, and with what you may be bound to afflict you.”

And Samson said to her, “If they bind me with seven fresh bowstrings, not yet dried, then I shall become weak, and be like any other man.”

So the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven fresh bowstrings, not yet dried, and she bound him with them. Now men were lying in wait, staying with her in the room. And she said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” But he broke the bowstrings as a strand of yarn breaks when it touches fire. So the secret of his strength was not known.

10 Then Delilah said to Samson, “Look, you have mocked me and told me lies. Now, please tell me what you may be bound with.”

11 So he said to her, “If they bind me securely with new ropes [a]that have never been used, then I shall become weak, and be like any other man.”

12 Therefore Delilah took new ropes and bound him with them, and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And men were lying in wait, staying in the room. But he broke them off his arms like a thread.

13 Delilah said to Samson, “Until now you have mocked me and told me lies. Tell me what you may be bound with.”

And he said to her, “If you weave the seven locks of my head into the web of the loom”—

14 So she wove it tightly with the batten of the loom, and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” But he awoke from his sleep, and pulled out the batten and the web from the loom.

15 Then she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me these three times, and have not told me where your great strength lies.” 16 And it came to pass, when she pestered him daily with her words and pressed him, so that his soul was [b]vexed to death, 17 that he told her all his heart, and said to her, “No razor has ever come upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If I am shaven, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.”

18 When Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, “Come up once more, for he has told me all his heart.” So the lords of the Philistines came up to her and brought the money in their hand. 19 Then she lulled him to sleep on her knees, and called for a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then [c]she began to torment him, and his strength left him. 20 And she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” So he awoke from his sleep, and said, “I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!” But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him.

21 Then the Philistines took him and [d]put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza. They bound him with bronze fetters, and he became a grinder in the prison. 22 However, the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaven.

Samson Dies with the Philistines

23 Now the lords of the Philistines gathered together to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god, and to rejoice. And they said:

“Our god has delivered into our hands
Samson our enemy!”

24 When the people saw him, they praised their god; for they said:

“Our god has delivered into our hands our enemy,
The destroyer of our land,
And the one who multiplied our dead.”

25 So it happened, when their hearts were merry, that they said, “Call for Samson, that he may perform for us.” So they called for Samson from the prison, and he performed for them. And they stationed him between the pillars. 26 Then Samson said to the lad who held him by the hand, “Let me feel the pillars which support the temple, so that I can lean on them.” 27 Now the temple was full of men and women. All the lords of the Philistines were there—about three thousand men and women on the roof watching while Samson performed.

28 Then Samson called to the Lord, saying, “O Lord God, remember me, I pray! Strengthen me, I pray, just this once, O God, that I may with one blow take vengeance on the Philistines for my two eyes!” 29 And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars which supported the temple, and he braced himself against them, one on his right and the other on his left. 30 Then Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” And he pushed with all his might, and the temple fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So the dead that he killed at his death were more than he had killed in his life.

31 And his brothers and all his father’s household came down and took him, and brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of his father Manoah. He had judged Israel twenty years.

Micah’s Idolatry

17 Now there was a man from the mountains of Ephraim, whose name was Micah. And he said to his mother, “The eleven hundred shekels of silver that were taken from you, and on which you put a curse, even saying it in my ears—here is the silver with me; I took it.”

And his mother said, “May you be blessed by the Lord, my son!” So when he had returned the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, his mother said, “I had wholly dedicated the silver from my hand to the Lord for my son, to make a carved image and a molded image; now therefore, I will return it to you.” Thus he returned the silver to his mother. Then his mother took two hundred shekels of silver and gave them to the silversmith, and he made it into a carved image and a molded image; and they were in the house of Micah.

The man Micah had a shrine, and made an ephod and household[e] idols; and he consecrated one of his sons, who became his priest. In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

Now there was a young man from Bethlehem in Judah, of the family of Judah; he was a Levite, and was staying there. The man departed from the city of Bethlehem in Judah to stay wherever he could find a place. Then he came to the mountains of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, as he journeyed. And Micah said to him, “Where do you come from?”

So he said to him, “I am a Levite from Bethlehem in Judah, and I am on my way to find a place to stay.”

10 Micah said to him, “Dwell with me, and be a father and a priest to me, and I will give you ten shekels of silver per year, a suit of clothes, and your sustenance.” So the Levite went in. 11 Then the Levite was content to dwell with the man; and the young man became like one of his sons to him. 12 So Micah consecrated[f] the Levite, and the young man became his priest, and lived in the house of Micah. 13 Then Micah said, “Now I know that the Lord will be good to me, since I have a Levite as priest!”

The Danites Adopt Micah’s Idolatry

18 In those days there was no king in Israel. And in those days the tribe of the Danites was seeking an inheritance for itself to dwell in; for until that day their inheritance among the tribes of Israel had not fallen to them. So the children of Dan sent five men of their family from their territory, men of valor from Zorah and Eshtaol, to spy out the land and search it. They said to them, “Go, search the land.” So they went to the mountains of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, and lodged there. While they were at the house of Micah, they recognized the voice of the young Levite. They turned aside and said to him, “Who brought you here? What are you doing in this place? What do you have here?”

He said to them, “Thus and so Micah did for me. He has hired me, and I have become his priest.”

So they said to him, “Please inquire of God, that we may know whether the journey on which we go will be prosperous.”

And the priest said to them, “Go in peace. [g]The presence of the Lord be with you on your way.”

So the five men departed and went to Laish. They saw the people who were there, how they dwelt safely, in the manner of the Sidonians, quiet and secure. There were no rulers in the land who might put them to shame for anything. They were far from the Sidonians, and they had no ties [h]with anyone.

Then the spies came back to their brethren at Zorah and Eshtaol, and their brethren said to them, “What is your report?

So they said, “Arise, let us go up against them. For we have seen the land, and indeed it is very good. Would you do nothing? Do not hesitate to go, and enter to possess the land. 10 When you go, you will come to a secure people and a large land. For God has given it into your hands, a place where there is no lack of anything that is on the earth.”

11 And six hundred men of the family of the Danites went from there, from Zorah and Eshtaol, armed with weapons of war. 12 Then they went up and encamped in Kirjath Jearim in Judah. (Therefore they call that place Mahaneh Dan[i] to this day. There it is, west of Kirjath Jearim.) 13 And they passed from there to the mountains of Ephraim, and came to the house of Micah.

14 Then the five men who had gone to spy out the country of Laish answered and said to their brethren, “Do you know that there are in these houses an ephod, household idols, a carved image, and a molded image? Now therefore, consider what you should do.” 15 So they turned aside there, and came to the house of the young Levite man—to the house of Micah—and greeted him. 16 The six hundred men armed with their weapons of war, who were of the children of Dan, stood by the entrance of the gate. 17 Then the five men who had gone to spy out the land went up. Entering there, they took the carved image, the ephod, the household idols, and the molded image. The priest stood at the entrance of the gate with the six hundred men who were armed with weapons of war.

18 When these went into Micah’s house and took the carved image, the ephod, the household idols, and the molded image, the priest said to them, “What are you doing?”

19 And they said to him, “Be quiet, put your hand over your mouth, and come with us; be a father and a priest to us. Is it better for you to be a priest to the household of one man, or that you be a priest to a tribe and a family in Israel?” 20 So the priest’s heart was glad; and he took the ephod, the household idols, and the carved image, and took his place among the people.

21 Then they turned and departed, and put the little ones, the livestock, and the goods in front of them. 22 When they were a good way from the house of Micah, the men who were in the houses near Micah’s house gathered together and overtook the children of Dan. 23 And they called out to the children of Dan. So they turned around and said to Micah, “What ails you, that you have gathered such a company?”

24 So he said, “You have taken away my [j]gods which I made, and the priest, and you have gone away. Now what more do I have? How can you say to me, ‘What ails you?’ ”

25 And the children of Dan said to him, “Do not let your voice be heard among us, lest [k]angry men fall upon you, and you lose your life, with the lives of your household!” 26 Then the children of Dan went their way. And when Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back to his house.

Danites Settle in Laish

27 So they took the things Micah had made, and the priest who had belonged to him, and went to Laish, to a people quiet and secure; and they struck them with the edge of the sword and burned the city with fire. 28 There was no deliverer, because it was far from Sidon, and they had no ties with anyone. It was in the valley that belongs to Beth Rehob. So they rebuilt the city and dwelt there. 29 And they called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father, who was born to Israel. However, the name of the city formerly was Laish.

30 Then the children of Dan set up for themselves the carved image; and Jonathan the son of Gershom, the son of [l]Manasseh, and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land. 31 So they set up for themselves Micah’s carved image which he made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh.

Footnotes

  1. Judges 16:11 Lit. with which work has never been done
  2. Judges 16:16 Lit. impatient to the point of
  3. Judges 16:19 So with MT, Tg., Vg.; LXX he began to be weak,
  4. Judges 16:21 Lit. bored out
  5. Judges 17:5 Heb. teraphim
  6. Judges 17:12 Lit. filled the hand of
  7. Judges 18:6 Lit. The Lord is before the way in which you go
  8. Judges 18:7 So with MT, Tg., Vg.; LXX with Syria
  9. Judges 18:12 Lit. Camp of Dan
  10. Judges 18:24 idols
  11. Judges 18:25 Lit. bitter of soul
  12. Judges 18:30 LXX, Vg. Moses

Weekend Reading (April 4)

Dear Heavenly Father, Please open my understanding as I read the Bible so that I may be able to know you better. Please help your word be planted in my mind, so I may recall it as needed. Bless me with wisdom and knowledge, please. In the name of Jesus we pray ~ amen

RELATIONSHIP:
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

MEMORY WORK: Hebrews 2:14 – Jesus defeated the devil!
NKJV – “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,”
NAS – “Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, so that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,”
ESV – “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,”
NLT – “Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.”
NIV – “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil”

Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

BIBLE READING: Judges 13-15  NKJV

The Birth of Samson

13 Again the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord delivered them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years.

Now there was a certain man from Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren and had no children. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Indeed now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and bear a son. Now therefore, please be careful not to drink wine or similar drink, and not to eat anything unclean. For behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. And no razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.”

So the woman came and told her husband, saying, “A Man of God came to me, and His countenance[a] was like the countenance of the Angel of God, very awesome; but I did not ask Him where He was from, and He did not tell me His name. And He said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. Now drink no wine or similar drink, nor eat anything unclean, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.’ ”

Then Manoah prayed to the Lord, and said, “O my Lord, please let the Man of God whom You sent come to us again and teach us what we shall do for the child who will be born.”

And God listened to the voice of Manoah, and the Angel of God came to the woman again as she was sitting in the field; but Manoah her husband was not with her. 10 Then the woman ran in haste and told her husband, and said to him, “Look, the Man who came to me the other day has just now appeared to me!”

11 So Manoah arose and followed his wife. When he came to the Man, he said to Him, “Are You the Man who spoke to this woman?”

And He said, “I am.

12 Manoah said, “Now let Your words come to pass! What will be the boy’s rule of life, and his work?”

13 So the Angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “Of all that I said to the woman let her be careful. 14 She may not eat anything that comes from the vine, nor may she drink wine or similar drink, nor eat anything unclean. All that I commanded her let her observe.”

15 Then Manoah said to the Angel of the Lord, “Please let us detain You, and we will prepare a young goat for You.”

16 And the Angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “Though you detain Me, I will not eat your food. But if you offer a burnt offering, you must offer it to the Lord.” (For Manoah did not know He was the Angel of the Lord.)

17 Then Manoah said to the Angel of the Lord, “What is Your name, that when Your words come to pass we may honor You?”

18 And the Angel of the Lord said to him, “Why do you ask My name, seeing it is wonderful?”

19 So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering, and offered it upon the rock to the Lord. And He did a wondrous thing while Manoah and his wife looked on— 20 it happened as the flame went up toward heaven from the altar—the Angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the altar! When Manoah and his wife saw this, they fell on their faces to the ground. 21 When the Angel of the Lord appeared no more to Manoah and his wife, then Manoah knew that He was the Angel of the Lord.

22 And Manoah said to his wife, “We shall surely die, because we have seen God!”

23 But his wife said to him, “If the Lord had desired to kill us, He would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering from our hands, nor would He have shown us all these things, nor would He have told us such things as these at this time.”

24 So the woman bore a son and called his name Samson; and the child grew, and the Lord blessed him. 25 And the Spirit of the Lord began to move upon him at [b]Mahaneh Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.

Samson’s Philistine Wife

14 Now Samson went down to Timnah, and saw a woman in Timnah of the daughters of the Philistines. So he went up and told his father and mother, saying, “I have seen a woman in Timnah of the daughters of the Philistines; now therefore, get her for me as a wife.”

Then his father and mother said to him, “Is there no woman among the daughters of your brethren, or among all my people, that you must go and get a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?”

And Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, for [c]she pleases me well.”

But his father and mother did not know that it was of the Lord—that He was seeking an occasion to move against the Philistines. For at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.

So Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother, and came to the vineyards of Timnah.

Now to his surprise, a young lion came roaring against him. And the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and he tore the lion apart as one would have torn apart a young goat, though he had nothing in his hand. But he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done.

Then he went down and talked with the woman; and she pleased Samson well. After some time, when he returned to get her, he turned aside to see the carcass of the lion. And behold, a swarm of bees and honey were in the carcass of the lion. He took some of it in his hands and went along, eating. When he came to his father and mother, he gave some to them, and they also ate. But he did not tell them that he had taken the honey out of the carcass of the lion.

10 So his father went down to the woman. And Samson gave a feast there, for young men used to do so. 11 And it happened, when they saw him, that they brought thirty companions to be with him.

12 Then Samson said to them, “Let me pose a riddle to you. If you can correctly solve and explain it to me within the seven days of the feast, then I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothing. 13 But if you cannot explain it to me, then you shall give me thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothing.”

And they said to him, “Pose your riddle, that we may hear it.”

14 So he said to them:

“Out of the eater came something to eat,
And out of the strong came something sweet.”

Now for three days they could not explain the riddle.

15 But it came to pass on the [d]seventh day that they said to Samson’s wife, “Entice your husband, that he may explain the riddle to us, or else we will burn you and your father’s house with fire. Have you invited us in order to take what is ours? Is that not so?

16 Then Samson’s wife wept on him, and said, “You only hate me! You do not love me! You have posed a riddle to the sons of my people, but you have not explained it to me.”

And he said to her, “Look, I have not explained it to my father or my mother; so should I explain it to you?” 17 Now she had wept on him the seven days while their feast lasted. And it happened on the seventh day that he told her, because she pressed him so much. Then she explained the riddle to the sons of her people. 18 So the men of the city said to him on the seventh day before the sun went down:

“What is sweeter than honey?
And what is stronger than a lion?”

And he said to them:

“If you had not plowed with my heifer,
You would not have solved my riddle!”

19 Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily, and he went down to Ashkelon and killed thirty of their men, took their apparel, and gave the changes of clothing to those who had explained the riddle. So his anger was aroused, and he went back up to his father’s house. 20 And Samson’s wife was given to his companion, who had been his best man.

Samson Defeats the Philistines

15 After a while, in the time of wheat harvest, it happened that Samson visited his wife with a young goat. And he said, “Let me go in to my wife, into her room.” But her father would not permit him to go in.

Her father said, “I really thought that you thoroughly hated her; therefore I gave her to your companion. Is not her younger sister better than she? Please, take her instead.”

And Samson said to them, “This time I shall be blameless regarding the Philistines if I harm them!” Then Samson went and caught three hundred foxes; and he took torches, turned the foxes tail to tail, and put a torch between each pair of tails. When he had set the torches on fire, he let the foxes go into the standing grain of the Philistines, and burned up both the shocks and the standing grain, as well as the vineyards and olive groves.

Then the Philistines said, “Who has done this?”

And they answered, “Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because he has taken his wife and given her to his companion.” So the Philistines came up and burned her and her father with fire.

Samson said to them, “Since you would do a thing like this, I will surely take revenge on you, and after that I will cease.” So he attacked them hip and thigh with a great slaughter; then he went down and dwelt in the cleft of the rock of Etam.

Now the Philistines went up, encamped in Judah, and deployed themselves against Lehi. 10 And the men of Judah said, “Why have you come up against us?”

So they answered, “We have come up to [e]arrest Samson, to do to him as he has done to us.”

11 Then three thousand men of Judah went down to the cleft of the rock of Etam, and said to Samson, “Do you not know that the Philistines rule over us? What is this you have done to us?”

And he said to them, “As they did to me, so I have done to them.”

12 But they said to him, “We have come down to arrest you, that we may deliver you into the hand of the Philistines.”

Then Samson said to them, “Swear to me that you will not kill me yourselves.”

13 So they spoke to him, saying, “No, but we will tie you securely and deliver you into their hand; but we will surely not kill you.” And they bound him with two new ropes and brought him up from the rock.

14 When he came to Lehi, the Philistines came shouting against him. Then the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him; and the ropes that were on his arms became like flax that is burned with fire, and his bonds [f]broke loose from his hands. 15 He found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, reached out his hand and took it, and killed a thousand men with it. 16 Then Samson said:

“With the jawbone of a donkey,
Heaps upon heaps,
With the jawbone of a donkey
I have slain a thousand men!”

17 And so it was, when he had finished speaking, that he threw the jawbone from his hand, and called that place [g]Ramath Lehi.

18 Then he became very thirsty; so he cried out to the Lord and said, “You have given this great deliverance by the hand of Your servant; and now shall I die of thirst and fall into the hand of the uncircumcised?” 19 So God split the hollow place that is in [h]Lehi, and water came out, and he drank; and his spirit returned, and he revived. Therefore he called its name [i]En Hakkore, which is in Lehi to this day. 20 And he judged Israel twenty years in the days of the Philistines.

Footnotes

  1. Judges 13:6 appearance
  2. Judges 13:25 Lit. Camp of Dan, Judg. 18:12
  3. Judges 14:3 Lit. she is right in my eyes
  4. Judges 14:15 So with MT, Tg., Vg.; LXX, Syr. fourth
  5. Judges 15:10 Lit. bind
  6. Judges 15:14 Lit. were melted
  7. Judges 15:17 Lit. Jawbone Height
  8. Judges 15:19 Lit. Jawbone, Judg. 15:14
  9. Judges 15:19 Lit. Spring of the Caller

Weekend Reading (April 3)

Dear Heavenly Father, Please open my understanding as I read the Bible so that I may be able to know you better. Please help your word be planted in my mind, so I may recall it as needed. Bless me with wisdom and knowledge, please. In the name of Jesus we pray ~ amen

RELATIONSHIP:
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

MEMORY WORK: Hebrews 2:14 – Jesus defeated the devil!
NKJV – “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,”
NAS – “Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, so that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,”
ESV – “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,”
NLT – “Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.”
NIV – “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil”

Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

BIBLE READING: Judges 10-12  NKJV

Tola

10 After Abimelech there arose to save Israel Tola the son of Puah, the son of Dodo, a man of Issachar; and he dwelt in Shamir in the mountains of Ephraim. He judged Israel twenty-three years; and he died and was buried in Shamir.

Jair

After him arose Jair, a Gileadite; and he judged Israel twenty-two years. Now he had thirty sons who rode on thirty donkeys; they also had thirty towns, which are called [a]“Havoth Jair” to this day, which are in the land of Gilead. And Jair died and was buried in Camon.

Israel Oppressed Again

Then the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals and the Ashtoreths, the gods of Syria, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the people of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines; and they forsook the Lord and did not serve Him. So the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel; and He sold them into the hands of the Philistines and into the hands of the people of Ammon. From that year they [b]harassed and oppressed the children of Israel for eighteen years—all the children of Israel who were on the other side of the Jordan in the land of the Amorites, in Gilead. Moreover the people of Ammon crossed over the Jordan to fight against Judah also, against Benjamin, and against the house of Ephraim, so that Israel was severely distressed.

10 And the children of Israel cried out to the Lord, saying, “We have sinned against You, because we have both forsaken our God and served the Baals!”

11 So the Lord said to the children of Israel, “Did I not deliver you from the Egyptians and from the Amorites and from the people of Ammon and from the Philistines? 12 Also the Sidonians and Amalekites and [c]Maonites oppressed you; and you cried out to Me, and I delivered you from their hand. 13 Yet you have forsaken Me and served other gods. Therefore I will deliver you no more. 14 “Go and cry out to the gods which you have chosen; let them deliver you in your time of distress.”

15 And the children of Israel said to the Lord, “We have sinned! Do to us whatever seems best to You; only deliver us this day, we pray.” 16 So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the Lord. And His soul could no longer endure the misery of Israel.

17 Then the people of Ammon gathered together and encamped in Gilead. And the children of Israel assembled together and encamped in Mizpah. 18 And the people, the leaders of Gilead, said to one another, “Who is the man who will begin the fight against the people of Ammon? He shall be head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.”

Jephthah

11 Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valor, but he was the son of a harlot; and Gilead begot Jephthah. Gilead’s wife bore sons; and when his wife’s sons grew up, they drove Jephthah out, and said to him, “You shall have no inheritance in our father’s house, for you are the son of another woman.” Then Jephthah fled from his brothers and dwelt in the land of Tob; and worthless men banded together with Jephthah and went out raiding with him.

It came to pass after a time that the people of Ammon made war against Israel. And so it was, when the people of Ammon made war against Israel, that the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob. Then they said to Jephthah, “Come and be our commander, that we may fight against the people of Ammon.”

So Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “Did you not hate me, and expel me from my father’s house? Why have you come to me now when you are in [d]distress?”

And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “That is why we have turned[e] again to you now, that you may go with us and fight against the people of Ammon, and be our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.”

So Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “If you take me back home to fight against the people of Ammon, and the Lord delivers them to me, shall I be your head?”

10 And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “The Lord will be a witness between us, if we do not do according to your words.” 11 Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and commander over them; and Jephthah spoke all his words before the Lord in Mizpah.

12 Now Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the people of Ammon, saying, “What do you have against me, that you have come to fight against me in my land?”

13 And the king of the people of Ammon answered the messengers of Jephthah, “Because Israel took away my land when they came up out of Egypt, from the Arnon as far as the Jabbok, and to the Jordan. Now therefore, restore those lands peaceably.”

14 So Jephthah again sent messengers to the king of the people of Ammon, 15 and said to him, “Thus says Jephthah: ‘Israel did not take away the land of Moab, nor the land of the people of Ammon; 16 for when Israel came up from Egypt, they walked through the wilderness as far as the Red Sea and came to Kadesh. 17 Then Israel sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, “Please let me pass through your land.” But the king of Edom would not heed. And in like manner they sent to the king of Moab, but he would not consent. So Israel remained in Kadesh. 18 And they went along through the wilderness and bypassed the land of Edom and the land of Moab, came to the east side of the land of Moab, and encamped on the other side of the Arnon. But they did not enter the border of Moab, for the Arnon was the border of Moab. 19 Then Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, king of Heshbon; and Israel said to him, “Please let us pass through your land into our place.” 20 But Sihon did not trust Israel to pass through his territory. So Sihon gathered all his people together, encamped in Jahaz, and fought against Israel. 21 And the Lord God of Israel delivered Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they defeated[f] them. Thus Israel gained possession of all the land of the Amorites, who inhabited that country. 22 They took possession of all the territory of the Amorites, from the Arnon to the Jabbok and from the wilderness to the Jordan.

23 ‘And now the Lord God of Israel has [g]dispossessed the Amorites from before His people Israel; should you then possess it? 24 Will you not possess whatever Chemosh your god gives you to possess? So whatever the Lord our God takes possession of before us, we will possess. 25 And now, are you any better than Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab? Did he ever strive against Israel? Did he ever fight against them? 26 While Israel dwelt in Heshbon and its villages, in Aroer and its villages, and in all the cities along the banks of the Arnon, for three hundred years, why did you not recover them within that time? 27 Therefore I have not sinned against you, but you wronged me by fighting against me. May the Lord, the Judge, render judgment this day between the children of Israel and the people of Ammon.’ ” 28 However, the king of the people of Ammon did not heed the words which Jephthah sent him.

Jephthah’s Vow and Victory

29 Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah, and he passed through Gilead and Manasseh, and passed through Mizpah of Gilead; and from Mizpah of Gilead he advanced toward the people of Ammon. 30 And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord, and said, “If You will indeed deliver the people of Ammon into my hands, 31 then it will be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the people of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering.”

32 So Jephthah advanced toward the people of Ammon to fight against them, and the Lord delivered them into his hands. 33 And he [h]defeated them from Aroer as far as Minnith—twenty cities—and to [i]Abel Keramim, with a very great slaughter. Thus the people of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel.

Jephthah’s Daughter

34 When Jephthah came to his house at Mizpah, there was his daughter, coming out to meet him with timbrels and dancing; and she was his only child. Besides her he had neither son nor daughter. 35 And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he tore his clothes, and said, “Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low! You are among those who trouble me! For I have [j]given my word to the Lord, and I cannot [k]go back on it.”

36 So she said to him, “My father, if you have given your word to the Lord, do to me according to what has gone out of your mouth, because the Lord has avenged you of your enemies, the people of Ammon.” 37 Then she said to her father, “Let this thing be done for me: let me alone for two months, that I may go and wander on the mountains and [l]bewail my virginity, my [m]friends and I.”

38 So he said, “Go.” And he sent her away for two months; and she went with her friends, and bewailed her virginity on the mountains. 39 And it was so at the end of two months that she returned to her father, and he carried out his vow with her which he had vowed. She [n]knew no man.

And it became a custom in Israel 40 that the daughters of Israel went four days each year to [o]lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite.

Jephthah’s Conflict with Ephraim

12 Then the men of Ephraim [p]gathered together, crossed over toward Zaphon, and said to Jephthah, “Why did you cross over to fight against the people of Ammon, and did not call us to go with you? We will burn your house down on you with fire!”

And Jephthah said to them, “My people and I were in a great struggle with the people of Ammon; and when I called you, you did not deliver me out of their hands. So when I saw that you would not deliver me, I took my life in my hands and crossed over against the people of Ammon; and the Lord delivered them into my hand. Why then have you come up to me this day to fight against me?” Now Jephthah gathered together all the men of Gilead and fought against Ephraim. And the men of Gilead defeated Ephraim, because they said, “You Gileadites are fugitives of Ephraim among the Ephraimites and among the Manassites.” The Gileadites seized the fords of the Jordan before the Ephraimites arrived. And when any Ephraimite who escaped said, “Let me cross over,” the men of Gilead would say to him, “Are you an Ephraimite?” If he said, “No,” then they would say to him, “Then say, ‘Shibboleth’!”[q] And he would say, “Sibboleth,” for he could not [r]pronounce it right. Then they would take him and kill him at the fords of the Jordan. There fell at that time forty-two thousand Ephraimites.

And Jephthah judged Israel six years. Then Jephthah the Gileadite died and was buried among the cities of Gilead.

Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon

After him, Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel. He had thirty sons. And he gave away thirty daughters in marriage, and brought in thirty daughters from elsewhere for his sons. He judged Israel seven years. 10 Then Ibzan died and was buried at Bethlehem.

11 After him, Elon the Zebulunite judged Israel. He judged Israel ten years. 12 And Elon the Zebulunite died and was buried at Aijalon in the country of Zebulun.

13 After him, Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite judged Israel. 14 He had forty sons and thirty grandsons, who rode on seventy young donkeys. He judged Israel eight years. 15 Then Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite died and was buried in Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the mountains of the Amalekites.

Footnotes

  1. Judges 10:4 Lit. Towns of Jair, Num. 32:41Deut. 3:14
  2. Judges 10:8 Lit. shattered
  3. Judges 10:12 LXX mss. Midianites
  4. Judges 11:7 trouble
  5. Judges 11:8 returned
  6. Judges 11:21 Lit. struck
  7. Judges 11:23 driven out
  8. Judges 11:33 Lit. struck
  9. Judges 11:33 Lit. Plain of Vineyards
  10. Judges 11:35 Lit. opened my mouth
  11. Judges 11:35 Lit. take it back
  12. Judges 11:37 lament
  13. Judges 11:37 companions
  14. Judges 11:39 Remained a virgin
  15. Judges 11:40 commemorate
  16. Judges 12:1 were summoned
  17. Judges 12:6 Lit. a flowing stream; used as a test of dialect
  18. Judges 12:6 Lit. speak so

Our God Reigns

“Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, both you and your son, and your grandson also; for you have delivered us from the hand of Midian.”
But Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you; the 
Lord shall rule over you.” Judges 8:22-23 NKJV

“The Lord shall rule over you.”
This was the plan and desire of the Lord, albeit, it was not the original plan. The original plan was for man to partner and work with God – this is still the goal and we should desire it too. We should strive to be close to Him. But since the fall of man – humans keep making choices that drive them further away from Him. First they asked for only Moses and the Prophets to see, hear, and communicate with God. And now they ask for a king to rule them – another barrier between them and God.

Dear Heavenly Father – As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is in the book of Judges, chapters 8-9 (embedded below for your convenience).

Judges has 12 judges.  We have already read about the first 4: Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, & Deborah.  Today we continue to read about Gideon. And over the next 6 or 7 days or so we will cover Tola, Jair, Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon, and Samson.

Today we finish Gideon and see his victory and his compromise which makes him a more corrupted judge than the last.  As we read the book, you will see each one gets more human and flawed. 

Today we see the people growing worse in sin as well… and the beginning of their desire for a king to rule them.  Look how far away humanity keeps making itself from our Creator – even today with our different global governments. I think, if we mediate on this while reading we can get all we need to from it.

I wanted to take some time today to point out another image, or visual theme, happening in this book: Trees. In Hebrew the word for tree is sometimes also translated as vine and other bush or tree like plants. Apparently our God reigns over them as well!

Othniel is believed to be buried in Hebron, in a traditional burial cave, next to a vineyard – a vineyard often believed to have belonged to Othniel’s family. So He is visually associated with old tree like vines.

Ehud’s story begins with the fat king, Eglon, defeating Israel and taking possession of the City of Palms (Judges 3:13). So he is visually associated with palm trees.

Although not much is said about Shamgar, in Judges 3:31 we are told he saved the Israelites, using a big branch – like 8 foot long branch – like this might as well have been a tree! Yes, an ox goad is a wooden tool with an iron spike at one end used to spur the oxen as they pulled a plow. So he is visually associated with carrying a tree.

Deborah lived in a palm tree grove. The word “to sit” in Judges 4:5 can also be translated to dwell. So she is visually associated with palm trees.
Verse 4:11 also speaks of Moses’s father-in-law finding a tree to camp under – the terebinth tree at Zaanaim.

Then in Judges 6:11 the angel of the Lord was under the terebinth tree when he appeared to Gideon! And Gideon brought out a sacrifice and worshiped under the same tree. Gideon was tasked with cutting down the wooden image to Baal and use the wood to burn a sacrifice to God.

After Gideon dies and his evil son raises himself up a warning comes in the form of The Parable of the Trees. This parable shows that each tree has a task to perform to glorify the Lord so no tree should raise up above the others.  If foretells, with imagery of burning trees, the death of Abimelech (the evil son). Abimelech’s demise happens when he was burning a stronghold full of people, including women and children – having cut down multiple branches of trees… and a woman drops a millstone on his head.
(Side note: a stone was dropped on his head – earlier he had killed all of his brothers on one stone – fitting he also fell because of a stone.)

As we continue to read the book and the whole Bible – look for the relationships of trees, wood, branches, etc., although it stops being as obvious in the rest of the chapters. Many scholars have traced this symbol back to the tree(s) in the Garden of Eden.  Whatever the reason, the beautifully written image patterns in this book do help soften the blow of the hard message of the book: which is that people are bent towards evil and sin – and without Jesus things progressively get worse and worse.

If it wasn’t for the grace that transformed me – I cannot even fathom how bad it would have been. I was very bad when Christ found me.  It is easy therefore to want a relationship with our Creator, when the salvation is tangible and the grace so obvious. I pray that you all have a tangible experience – an experience real enough that you know with all confidence that Our God lives and is Almighty and is the One True God.

RELATIONSHIP:
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

MEMORY WORK: Hebrews 2:14 – Jesus defeated the devil!
NKJV – “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,”
NAS – “Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, so that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,”
ESV – “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,”
NLT – “Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.”
NIV – “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil”

Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

BIBLE READING: Judges 8-9 NKJV

Gideon Subdues the Midianites

Now the men of Ephraim said to him, “Why have you done this to us by not calling us when you went to fight with the Midianites?” And they reprimanded him sharply.

So he said to them, “What have I done now in comparison with you? Is not the [a]gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than [b]the vintage of Abiezer? God has delivered into your hands the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb. And what was I able to do in comparison with you?” Then their anger toward him subsided when he said that.

When Gideon came to the Jordan, he and the three hundred men who were with him crossed over, exhausted but still in pursuit. Then he said to the men of Succoth, “Please give loaves of bread to the people who follow me, for they are exhausted, and I am pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, kings of Midian.”

And the leaders of Succoth said, “Are[c] the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in your hand, that we should give bread to your army?”

So Gideon said, “For this cause, when the Lord has delivered Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, then I will tear your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers!” Then he went up from there to Penuel and spoke to them in the same way. And the men of Penuel answered him as the men of Succoth had answered. So he also spoke to the men of Penuel, saying, “When I come back in peace, I will tear down this tower!”

10 Now Zebah and Zalmunna were at Karkor, and their armies with them, about fifteen thousand, all who were left of all the army of the people of the East; for one hundred and twenty thousand men who drew the sword had fallen. 11 Then Gideon went up by the road of those who dwell in tents on the east of Nobah and Jogbehah; and he [d]attacked the army while the camp felt secure. 12 When Zebah and Zalmunna fled, he pursued them; and he took the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and routed the whole army.

13 Then Gideon the son of Joash returned from battle, from the Ascent of Heres. 14 And he caught a young man of the men of Succoth and interrogated him; and he wrote down for him the leaders of Succoth and its elders, seventy-seven men. 15 Then he came to the men of Succoth and said, “Here are Zebah and Zalmunna, about whom you ridiculed me, saying, ‘Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in your hand, that we should give bread to your weary men?’ ” 16 And he took the elders of the city, and thorns of the wilderness and briers, and with them he [e]taught the men of Succoth. 17 Then he tore down the tower of Penuel and killed the men of the city.

18 And he said to Zebah and Zalmunna, “What kind of men were they whom you killed at Tabor?”

So they answered, “As you are, so were they; each one resembled the son of a king.”

19 Then he said, “They were my brothers, the sons of my mother. As the Lord lives, if you had let them live, I would not kill you.” 20 And he said to Jether his firstborn, “Rise, kill them!” But the youth would not draw his sword; for he was afraid, because he was still a youth.

21 So Zebah and Zalmunna said, “Rise yourself, and kill us; for as a man is, so is his strength.” So Gideon arose and killed Zebah and Zalmunna, and took the crescent ornaments that were on their camels’ necks.

Gideon’s Ephod

22 Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, both you and your son, and your grandson also; for you have delivered us from the hand of Midian.”

23 But Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you; the Lord shall rule over you.” 24 Then Gideon said to them, “I would like to [f]make a request of you, that each of you would give me the earrings from his plunder.” For they had golden earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.

25 So they answered, “We will gladly give them.” And they spread out a garment, and each man threw into it the earrings from his plunder. 26 Now the weight of the gold earrings that he requested was one thousand seven hundred shekels of gold, besides the crescent ornaments, pendants, and purple robes which were on the kings of Midian, and besides the chains that were around their camels’ necks. 27 Then Gideon made it into an ephod and set it up in his city, Ophrah. And all Israel played the harlot with it there. It became a snare to Gideon and to his house.

28 Thus Midian was subdued before the children of Israel, so that they lifted their heads no more. And the country was quiet for forty years in the days of Gideon.

Death of Gideon

29 Then Jerubbaal the son of Joash went and dwelt in his own house. 30 Gideon had seventy sons who were his own offspring, for he had many wives. 31 And his concubine who was in Shechem also bore him a son, whose name he called Abimelech. 32 Now Gideon the son of Joash died at a good old age, and was buried in the tomb of Joash his father, in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

33 So it was, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel again played the harlot with the Baals, and made Baal-Berith their god. 34 Thus the children of Israel did not remember the Lord their God, who had delivered them from the hands of all their enemies on every side; 35 nor did they show kindness to the house of Jerubbaal (Gideon) in accordance with the good he had done for Israel.

Abimelech’s Conspiracy

Then Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem, to his mother’s brothers, and spoke with them and with all the family of the house of his mother’s father, saying, “Please speak in the hearing of all the men of Shechem: ‘Which is better for you, that all seventy of the sons of Jerubbaal reign over you, or that one reign over you?’ Remember that I am your own flesh and bone.”

And his mother’s brothers spoke all these words concerning him in the hearing of all the men of Shechem; and their heart was inclined to follow Abimelech, for they said, “He is our brother.” So they gave him seventy shekels of silver from the temple of Baal-Berith, with which Abimelech hired worthless and reckless men; and they followed him. Then he went to his father’s house at Ophrah and killed his brothers, the seventy sons of Jerubbaal, on one stone. But Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left, because he hid himself. And all the men of Shechem gathered together, all of Beth Millo, and they went and made Abimelech king beside the terebinth tree at the pillar that was in Shechem.

The Parable of the Trees

Now when they told Jotham, he went and stood on top of Mount Gerizim, and lifted his voice and cried out. And he said to them:

“Listen to me, you men of Shechem,
That God may listen to you!

“The trees once went forth to anoint a king over them.
And they said to the olive tree,
‘Reign over us!’
But the olive tree said to them,
‘Should I cease giving my oil,
With which they honor God and men,
And go to sway over trees?’

10 “Then the trees said to the fig tree,
‘You come and reign over us!’
11 But the fig tree said to them,
‘Should I cease my sweetness and my good fruit,
And go to sway over trees?’

12 “Then the trees said to the vine,
‘You come and reign over us!’
13 But the vine said to them,
‘Should I cease my new wine,
Which cheers both God and men,
And go to sway over trees?’

14 “Then all the trees said to the bramble,
‘You come and reign over us!’
15 And the bramble said to the trees,
‘If in truth you anoint me as king over you,
Then come and take shelter in my shade;
But if not, let fire come out of the bramble
And devour the cedars of Lebanon!’

16 “Now therefore, if you have acted in truth and sincerity in making Abimelech king, and if you have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house, and have done to him as[g] he deserves— 17 for my father fought for you, risked his life, and delivered you out of the hand of Midian; 18 but you have risen up against my father’s house this day, and killed his seventy sons on one stone, and made Abimelech, the son of his female servant, king over the men of Shechem, because he is your brother— 19 if then you have acted in truth and sincerity with Jerubbaal and with his house this day, then rejoice in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you. 20 But if not, let fire come from Abimelech and devour the men of Shechem and Beth Millo; and let fire come from the men of Shechem and from Beth Millo and devour Abimelech!” 21 And Jotham ran away and fled; and he went to Beer and dwelt there, for fear of Abimelech his brother.

Downfall of Abimelech

22 After Abimelech had reigned over Israel three years, 23 God sent a spirit of ill will between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech, 24 that the crime done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal might be settled and their blood be laid on Abimelech their brother, who killed them, and on the men of Shechem, who aided him in the killing of his brothers. 25 And the men of Shechem set [h]men in ambush against him on the tops of the mountains, and they robbed all who passed by them along that way; and it was told Abimelech.

26 Now Gaal the son of Ebed came with his brothers and went over to Shechem; and the men of Shechem put their confidence in him. 27 So they went out into the fields, and gathered grapes from their vineyards and trod them, and [i]made merry. And they went into the house of their god, and ate and drank, and cursed Abimelech. 28 Then Gaal the son of Ebed said, “Who is Abimelech, and who is Shechem, that we should serve him? Is he not the son of Jerubbaal, and is not Zebul his officer? Serve the men of Hamor the father of Shechem; but why should we serve him? 29 If only this people were under my [j]authority! Then I would remove Abimelech.” So [k]he said to Abimelech, “Increase your army and come out!”

30 When Zebul, the ruler of the city, heard the words of Gaal the son of Ebed, his anger was aroused. 31 And he sent messengers to Abimelech secretly, saying, “Take note! Gaal the son of Ebed and his brothers have come to Shechem; and here they are, fortifying the city against you. 32 Now therefore, get up by night, you and the people who are with you, and [l]lie in wait in the field. 33 And it shall be, as soon as the sun is up in the morning, that you shall rise early and rush upon the city; and when he and the people who are with him come out against you, you may then do to them [m]as you find opportunity.”

34 So Abimelech and all the people who were with him rose by night, and [n]lay in wait against Shechem in four companies. 35 When Gaal the son of Ebed went out and stood in the entrance to the city gate, Abimelech and the people who were with him rose from lying in wait. 36 And when Gaal saw the people, he said to Zebul, “Look, people are coming down from the tops of the mountains!”

But Zebul said to him, “You see the shadows of the mountains as if they were men.”

37 So Gaal spoke again and said, “See, people are coming down from the center of the land, and another company is coming from the [o]Diviners’ Terebinth Tree.”

38 Then Zebul said to him, “Where indeed is your mouth now, with which you said, ‘Who is Abimelech, that we should serve him?’ Are not these the people whom you despised? Go out, if you will, and fight with them now.”

39 So Gaal went out, leading the men of Shechem, and fought with Abimelech. 40 And Abimelech chased him, and he fled from him; and many fell wounded, to the very entrance of the gate. 41 Then Abimelech dwelt at Arumah, and Zebul [p]drove out Gaal and his brothers, so that they would not dwell in Shechem.

42 And it came about on the next day that the people went out into the field, and they told Abimelech. 43 So he took his people, divided them into three companies, and lay in wait in the field. And he looked, and there were the people, coming out of the city; and he rose against them and [q]attacked them. 44 Then Abimelech and the company that was with him rushed forward and stood at the entrance of the gate of the city; and the other two companies rushed upon all who were in the fields and killed them. 45 So Abimelech fought against the city all that day; he took the city and killed the people who were in it; and he demolished the city and sowed it with salt.

46 Now when all the men of the tower of Shechem had heard that, they entered the [r]stronghold of the temple of the god Berith. 47 And it was told Abimelech that all the men of the tower of Shechem were gathered together. 48 Then Abimelech went up to Mount Zalmon, he and all the people who were with him. And Abimelech took an ax in his hand and cut down a bough from the trees, and took it and laid it on his shoulder; then he said to the people who were with him, “What you have seen me do, make haste and do as I have done.” 49 So each of the people likewise cut down his own bough and followed Abimelech, put them against the [s]stronghold, and set the stronghold on fire above them, so that all the people of the tower of Shechem died, about a thousand men and women.

50 Then Abimelech went to Thebez, and he [t]encamped against Thebez and took it. 51 But there was a strong tower in the city, and all the men and women—all the people of the city—fled there and shut themselves in; then they went up to the top of the tower. 52 So Abimelech came as far as the tower and fought against it; and he drew near the door of the tower to burn it with fire. 53 But a certain woman dropped an upper millstone on Abimelech’s head and crushed his skull. 54 Then he called quickly to the young man, his armorbearer, and said to him, “Draw your sword and kill me, lest men say of me, ‘A woman killed him.’ ” So his young man thrust him through, and he died. 55 And when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, they departed, every man to his [u]place.

56 Thus God repaid the wickedness of Abimelech, which he had done to his father by killing his seventy brothers. 57 And all the evil of the men of Shechem God returned on their own heads, and on them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal.

Footnotes

  1. Judges 8:2 Few grapes left after the harvest
  2. Judges 8:2 The whole harvest
  3. Judges 8:6 Lit. Is the palm
  4. Judges 8:11 Lit. struck
  5. Judges 8:16 disciplined
  6. Judges 8:24 Lit. request a request
  7. Judges 9:16 Lit. according to the doing of his hands
  8. Judges 9:25 Lit. liers-in-wait for
  9. Judges 9:27 rejoiced
  10. Judges 9:29 Lit. hand
  11. Judges 9:29 So with MT, Tg.; DSS they; LXX I
  12. Judges 9:32 Set up an ambush
  13. Judges 9:33 Lit. as your hand can find
  14. Judges 9:34 Set up an ambush
  15. Judges 9:37 Heb. Meonenim
  16. Judges 9:41 exiled
  17. Judges 9:43 Lit. struck
  18. Judges 9:46 fortified room
  19. Judges 9:49 fortified room
  20. Judges 9:50 besieged
  21. Judges 9:55 home

God always uses the Humble

“Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian for seven years” Judges 6:1 NKJV

Today I don’t want to study Judges. We get it – humans are bad, we lean towards being naughty, we constantly need saving, and even the judges in this book progressively become more and more fallible and the grievous sins of the people become more and more disgusting. We get that it snowballs so we see that only God can be the answer as no answer can come from man.
I look at current event – and I see with my own eyes, man is bad. I see the prophecies being fulfilled and I cry to God and ask, how much grace is left? Have we really run out? Is this really nearing the end?

Dear Heavenly Father – As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is in the book of Judges, chapters 6-7 (embedded below for your convenience).

Judges has 12 judges.  We have already read about the first 4: Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, & Deborah.  Today and tomorrow we read about Gideon. And over the next 6 or 7 days or so we will cover Tola, Jair, Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon, and Samson.

We had the undescribed judge, then the left handed judge (left handed being a sign of human frailty), then the judge with the unfortunate name (another messed up human – it is worse to a bad name than to be left handed). Then we had a woman judge, she seem strong and well put together and as you read all the different studies on her life you wonder what is so wrong with her that she is 4th in this book – but it is worse in those days to be a respected, powerful and anointed by God, woman than it is to be a poorly named leftie. But there are still 8 worse judges – we are currently onto the doubtful and fearful weakling named Gideon.

We are introduced to him while he is hiding from the Midianites.  I doubt I can say much that most Christians haven’t heard before since a seventh of this book is dedicated to him and there are a multitude of lessons to learn from this man. He has the kind of human frailty and weaknesses that we can relate to – we see ourselves on this level, being a people who God wants to use but we are timid and doubt that He wants to use us. If you are unfamiliar – there are a multitude of Gideon themed devotionals and bible studies on the market.

11 Now the Angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth tree which was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites. 12 And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!”
13 Gideon said to Him, “O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.”
14 Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?”
15 So he said to Him, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”
Judges 6:11-15

As most studies point out the Lord calls Gideon a mighty man of valor – and Gideon sees himself as a no one. But before he even points it out – he has questions for God!!!
This is my mood today. I have questions for God.
God, if you are for us, why has this happened?  In both Gideon’s story and ours the answer is in verse 10, just before we are introduced to Gideon: “But you [the people as a whole] have not obeyed My voice”.
Father God, where are all the miracles which we read about in the Bible that it says will follow those of us who believe? In both Gideon’s story and ours the answer is in verse 10, just before we are introduced to Gideon: “But you [the people as a whole] have not obeyed My voice”.
Lord of lords – have you delivered us into the hands of a pandemic, into the great reset, and into a global slave state?? Lord, have you forsaken us?! Lord, Lord – yes, I get it I have sinned and deserve destruction and all of mankind has returned to the days of judges and worst, to the days of Noah and the days of Sodom and Gomorrah. I weep watching them reject grace. But Lord – can’t you pour out grace one last time? One more push for the salvation of mankind?! Only you can soften heart with grace – is it too late to turn away your wrath! Woe is me to have to live and see such sorrow!

In the last days man will raise himself up.

Six is a symbol for man – three times is a symbol of the Trinity – among all the interpretation of “666” in the Revelation, the fact that is can represent many things at once and one of them is man raising himself against the Lord… well it is Biblical and found in other passages that man does this in the end – just like in the beginning of sin. Man is always fighting humility.

Lately every time I hear someone say Christians need to rise up – or a prayer to raise us up… I cringe. My spirit recoils – and I ask God what is wrong with what they have said and what they have prayed.
Gideon had one thing right. He was a man of valor because he was humble.
In Samuel 2:8, He raises poor from dust (in Hebrew, the humble from the dust) and he raises the needy from ashes (the Hebrew word for lacking and ashes symbolize sacrifice – showing these are those who have depleted themselves, surrendered all of God).

“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” James 4:10 NKJV

We will not survive the time in which we live if we do not get low and get close to God. Get low because of our own propensity to sin – get low standing in the gap for the sinners of our world. We must cry out for God to heal our friends and family – soften their hearts and transform them by grace. Now is not the time to be lifted but the time to be low.

He will lift us when the trumpet sounds and in the twinkling of an eye – therefore pray to the Lord of the harvest for workers, pray for those who are working to spread the gospel. You can joint them! If you cannot preach or teach – you can click share and share a message, a sermon, a devotional or even one of these post. Let God guide these into the hands of those who need to hear it. The time is short.

RELATIONSHIP:
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

MEMORY WORK: Hebrews 2:14 – NEW MEMORY VERSE!!!! Jesus defeated the devil!
NKJV – “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,”
NAS – “Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, so that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,”
ESV – “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,”
NLT – “Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.”
NIV – “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil”

Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

BIBLE READING: Judges 6-7 NKJV

Midianites Oppress Israel

Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian for seven years, and the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel. Because of the Midianites, the children of Israel made for themselves the dens, the caves, and the strongholds which are in the mountains. So it was, whenever Israel had sown, Midianites would come up; also Amalekites and the people of the East would come up against them. Then they would encamp against them and destroy the produce of the earth as far as Gaza, and leave no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep nor ox nor donkey. For they would come up with their livestock and their tents, coming in as numerous as locusts; both they and their camels were [a]without number; and they would enter the land to destroy it. So Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites, and the children of Israel cried out to the Lord.

And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried out to the Lord because of the Midianites, that the Lord sent a prophet to the children of Israel, who said to them, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘I brought you up from Egypt and brought you out of the house of [b]bondage; and I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians and out of the hand of all who oppressed you, and drove them out before you and gave you their land. 10 Also I said to you, “I am the Lord your God; do not fear the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell.” But you have not obeyed My voice.’ ”

Gideon

11 Now the Angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth tree which was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites. 12 And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!”

13 Gideon said to Him, “O [c]my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.”

14 Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?”

15 So he said to Him, “O [d]my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”

16 And the Lord said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall [e]defeat the Midianites as one man.”

17 Then he said to Him, “If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who talk with me. 18 Do not depart from here, I pray, until I come to You and bring out my offering and set it before You.”

And He said, “I will wait until you come back.”

19 So Gideon went in and prepared a young goat, and unleavened bread from an ephah of flour. The meat he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot; and he brought them out to Him under the terebinth tree and presented them. 20 The Angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread and lay them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” And he did so.

21 Then the Angel of the Lord put out the end of the staff that was in His hand, and touched the meat and the unleavened bread; and fire rose out of the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. And the Angel of the Lord departed out of his sight.

22 Now Gideon perceived that He was the Angel of the Lord. So Gideon said, “Alas, O Lord God! For I have seen the Angel of the Lord face to face.”

23 Then the Lord said to him, “Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die.” 24 So Gideon built an altar there to the Lord, and called it [f]The-Lord-Is-Peace. To this day it is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

25 Now it came to pass the same night that the Lord said to him, “Take your father’s young bull, the second bull of seven years old, and tear down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the [g]wooden image that is beside it; 26 and build an altar to the Lord your God on top of this [h]rock in the proper arrangement, and take the second bull and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the image which you shall cut down.” 27 So Gideon took ten men from among his servants and did as the Lord had said to him. But because he feared his father’s household and the men of the city too much to do it by day, he did it by night.

Gideon Destroys the Altar of Baal

28 And when the men of the city arose early in the morning, there was the altar of Baal, torn down; and the wooden image that was beside it was cut down, and the second bull was being offered on the altar which had been built. 29 So they said to one another, “Who has done this thing?” And when they had inquired and asked, they said, “Gideon the son of Joash has done this thing.” 30 Then the men of the city said to Joash, “Bring out your son, that he may die, because he has torn down the altar of Baal, and because he has cut down the wooden image that was beside it.”

31 But Joash said to all who stood against him, “Would you [i]plead for Baal? Would you save him? Let the one who would plead for him be put to death by morning! If he is a god, let him plead for himself, because his altar has been torn down!” 32 Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal,[j] saying, “Let Baal plead against him, because he has torn down his altar.”

33 Then all the Midianites and Amalekites, the people of the East, gathered together; and they crossed over and encamped in the Valley of Jezreel. 34 But the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon; then he blew the trumpet, and the Abiezrites gathered behind him. 35 And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh, who also gathered behind him. He also sent messengers to Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali; and they came up to meet them.

The Sign of the Fleece

36 So Gideon said to God, “If You will save Israel by my hand as You have said— 37 look, I shall put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that You will save Israel by my hand, as You have said.” 38 And it was so. When he rose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece together, he wrung the dew out of the fleece, a bowlful of water. 39 Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me, but let me speak just once more: Let me test, I pray, just once more with the fleece; let it now be dry only on the fleece, but on all the ground let there be dew.” 40 And God did so that night. It was dry on the fleece only, but there was dew on all the ground.

Gideon’s Valiant Three Hundred

Then Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and all the people who were with him rose early and encamped beside the well of Harod, so that the camp of the Midianites was on the north side of them by the hill of Moreh in the valley.

And the Lord said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ Now therefore, proclaim in the hearing of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is fearful and afraid, let him turn and depart at once from Mount Gilead.’ ” And twenty-two thousand of the people returned, and ten thousand remained.

But the Lord said to Gideon, “The people are still too many; bring them down to the water, and I will test them for you there. Then it will be, that of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ the same shall go with you; and of whomever I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ the same shall not go.” So he brought the people down to the water. And the Lord said to Gideon, “Everyone who laps from the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set apart by himself; likewise everyone who gets down on his knees to drink.” And the number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was three hundred men; but all the rest of the people got down on their knees to drink water. Then the Lord said to Gideon, “By the three hundred men who lapped I will save you, and deliver the Midianites into your hand. Let all the other people go, every man to his [k]place.” So the people took provisions and their trumpets in their hands. And he sent away all the rest of Israel, every man to his tent, and retained those three hundred men. Now the camp of Midian was below him in the valley.

It happened on the same night that the Lord said to him, “Arise, go down against the camp, for I have delivered it into your hand. 10 But if you are afraid to go down, go down to the camp with Purah your servant, 11 and you shall hear what they say; and afterward [l]your hands shall be strengthened to go down against the camp.” Then he went down with Purah his servant to the outpost of the armed men who were in the camp. 12 Now the Midianites and Amalekites, all the people of the East, were lying in the valley as numerous as locusts; and their camels were [m]without number, as the sand by the seashore in multitude.

13 And when Gideon had come, there was a man telling a dream to his companion. He said, “I have had a dream: To my surprise, a loaf of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian; it came to a tent and struck it so that it fell and overturned, and the tent collapsed.”

14 Then his companion answered and said, “This is nothing else but the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel! Into his hand God has delivered Midian and the whole camp.”

15 And so it was, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, that he worshiped. He returned to the camp of Israel, and said, “Arise, for the Lord has delivered the camp of Midian into your hand.” 16 Then he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet into every man’s hand, with empty pitchers, and torches inside the pitchers. 17 And he said to them, “Look at me and do likewise; watch, and when I come to the edge of the camp you shall do as I do: 18 When I blow the trumpet, I and all who are with me, then you also blow the trumpets on every side of the whole camp, and say, ‘The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!’ ”

19 So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outpost of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just as they had posted the watch; and they blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers that were in their hands. 20 Then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers—they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing—and they cried, “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!” 21 And every man stood in his place all around the camp; and the whole army ran and cried out and fled. 22 When the three hundred blew the trumpets, the Lord set every man’s sword against his companion throughout the whole camp; and the army fled to [n]Beth Acacia, toward Zererah, as far as the border of Abel Meholah, by Tabbath.

23 And the men of Israel gathered together from Naphtali, Asher, and all Manasseh, and pursued the Midianites.

24 Then Gideon sent messengers throughout all the mountains of Ephraim, saying, “Come down against the Midianites, and seize from them the watering places as far as Beth Barah and the Jordan.” Then all the men of Ephraim gathered together and seized the watering places as far as Beth Barah and the Jordan. 25 And they captured two princes of the Midianites, Oreb and Zeeb. They killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb, and Zeeb they killed at the winepress of Zeeb. They pursued Midian and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon on the other side of the Jordan.

Footnotes

  1. Judges 6:5 innumerable
  2. Judges 6:8 slavery
  3. Judges 6:13 Heb. adoni, used of man
  4. Judges 6:15 Heb. Adonai, used of God
  5. Judges 6:16 Lit. strike
  6. Judges 6:24 Heb. YHWH Shalom
  7. Judges 6:25 Heb. Asherah, a Canaanite goddess
  8. Judges 6:26 stronghold
  9. Judges 6:31 contend
  10. Judges 6:32 Lit. Let Baal Plead
  11. Judges 7:7 home
  12. Judges 7:11 you shall be encouraged
  13. Judges 7:12 innumerable
  14. Judges 7:22 Heb. Beth Shittah