When There is no Rule of Law

Shiloah Baptist Church

Please read Judges 17 – 19 for today…

“Then came the woman in the dawning of the day, and fell down at the door of the man’s house where her lord was, till it was light. And her lord rose up in the morning, and opened the doors of the house, and went out to go his way: and, behold, the woman his concubine was fallen down at the door of the house, and her hands were upon the threshold.”  Judges 19:26-27 (KJB)

It is stated at least three times in Judges that there was no king in Israel.  Chapters 19:1 and 21:25 are two of those references.  Since there was no king there was no direct human guidance for any law.  We must remember the people of Israel did have God’s law, and they had strayed in horrible fashion.

When there is no rule of law people become a a…

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From Whence does Your Strength Come?

Shiloah Baptist Church

Read about Samson in Judges 14 – 16…

“And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, ‘O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray Thee, and strengthen me, I pray Thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.'”  Judges 16:28 (KJB)

The man knew from whence his strength came.  Do you?  We often give credit to our physical health, and weight lifting, and exercise. We have even been known to give all the credit to doctors and such. Samson may have thought it came from his hair.

Samson was probably a strong man physically, but he was not a “Super power”.  He had been give a gift from God, and from birth.

His parents only child.  He was promised to them by the LORD, and they took the Nazarite vow for him, which included never cutting his hair, and…

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His Name, Wonderful

Shiloah Baptist Church

Please read Judges 11 – 13…

“And the Angel of the LORD said unto him, Why askest thou thus after My name, seeing it is secret?” Judges 13:18 (KJB)

“And the Angel of the LORD said to him, ‘Why do you ask My name, seeing it is wonderful?” (NKJB)

The Angel of the LORD had appeared to the woman who was the wife of Manoah, and he was working in the field.  They had no children, now, the Man had came and told her they were going to have a son.

This Man was none other than the pre-incarnate Son of God, God the Son with all power, wisdom, and knowledge of the Godhead.  He is worshiped.  Manoah is directed, commanded to offer the sacrifice to God, and it seems that He was inferring to Manoah that He was more than a man.

What is the deal about His name? …

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Much Needed Repentance

Shiloah Baptist Church

Please read for today Judges 9 – 10…

“And the children of Israel said unto the LORD, ‘We have sinned: do Thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good unto Thee; deliver us only, we pray Thee, this day.'” Judges 10:15  (KJB)

Since the death of Gideon the tribes of Israel had grossly strayed from the path the LORD had laid out for them, and had turned to the worship of foreign gods, which means they had turned their backs on the LORD.  The LORD God was the One who had delivered them from Egypt, gave them deliverance through crossing the Red Sea, provided water from the Rock, given them manna for bread in the wilderness, and protected them from many enemies in their journey.  Yet they had gone astray in the land of Promise.

Reading chapters 9 – 10 of Judges we find departure, defeat, and chaos.  They are distressed by…

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The LORD Shall Rule

Shiloah Baptist Church

For your reading please read Judges 7 – 8…

“And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the LORD shall rule over you.”  Judges 8:23 (KJB)

It seems that the idea of having royalty or a monarchy is a romantic idea in many, if not most societies.  It was so in the very early days of Israel’s conquering, and divisions of Canaan.

We look at Gideon today, of whom Judges 8:23 speaks.  He was very successful because of God’s power and direction in his life, and for no other reason; as a judge – deliverer.  The people desired him to be their king, and his son, thus to establish a dynasty in the kingdom.  That, however, was not God’s will or intent for that time.

There is no need for royalty of men when men will submit to the rule…

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Women of Bravery

Shiloah Baptist Church

In your Bible Reading today please read Judges 4 – 6..

“So let all Thine enemies perish, O LORD: but let them that love Him be as the sun when he goeth forth in his might. And the land had rest forty years.”  Judges 5:31 (KJB)

The above verse is the final verse of the Song of Deborah.  The song was sung by Deborah, one of the Judges-Saviors of Israel whom God called and used to deliver Israel from bondage of the surrounding enemies who caused them much sorrow and grief – in loss of crops, animals, etc..  This was due to Israel’s disobedience to the LORD’S commands to rid and destroy all the inhabitants of the land, and the cities.

Deborah was not the only woman involved in this story, this victory over this enemy, Sisera.  She had chosen Bara to go to war, but he did not feel…

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The Chastening of the LORD

Shiloah Baptist Church

Please read Judges 1 – 3…

“And they were to prove Israel by them, to know whether they would hearken unto the commandments of the LORD, which He commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.”  Judges 3:4  (KJB)

How the enemy gets his foot in our door, and into the house is evident from the reading of the morning.

It begins in an unbelieving heart; not believing what God has said, not practicing what He says, and teaching of the children is neglected (Judges 2:10); for they did not know the LORD.

These [children] not only neglected to rid the land and cities they had conquered of their evil inhabitants, but began practicing their evil religion and worshiped the false gods of the land.  It is a good thing to know that God will work in and with His children in disciplining them to get them where He desires…

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When GOD’S Children Go Astray

There is too much false teaching going around.  Teaching which says to us everyday… Live the way you want to, do your own thing, do not worry about it…  God is a loving God.   He does not judge.  He loves.

If a confessor of Jesus Christ can live in sin, and live without shame, guilt, or condemnation; or the judgment of God; then that being is not a child of God.  God works in His children; correcting, instructing, convicting when we sin.  And if we sin, and refuse to repent; that is, change our minds toward Him; then there will be judgment in accordance with that sin.

Hear what the Spirit of God says in the book of Judges…

“And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: and they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger. And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.”  Judges 2:11-13 (KJV)

Every Christian today loves the positive promises of the Old Testament; but very often forget about the warnings, and the judgments on the people of God.  If you will genuinely read the Scriptures and hear what God says you will be able to see and hear what God expects from us… To love the LORD our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength.  Israel; in the verses above turned their backs on God to foreign gods, which were no gods; just wood, and stone.  And we think we live in a civilized and god-fearing culture and society.

Many professing Christians have turned to the worship of Baal, by accepting other religious gods and believes; trusting more in our technology, medicine, finances, and global unity.  Then they begin following the godesses of Canaan [Ashtaroth], in immoral, filthy behavior; acting more like animal beings, than the One who created them.  The writer of Psalm 115 and 135 says, “They that make them are like unto them; so is everyone that trusts in them”  115:8, and 135:18.  Become like what you worship if you will, but I pray you choose Jesus the Son of God, God the Son.

If you are in sin, and are convicted of its wrong Jesus is waiting to receive you back; to cleanse you, and restore you to fellowship with Him.  If you feel no remorse or guilt for your sin; maybe until now, then call on the name of Jesus, He died on the cross for you, was buried, and He rose again; He will hear you and forgive you, and cleanse you; and give you the new birth that is only through faith in Him.

Something from the New Testament to remember…

“For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” Hebrews 12:6-8

Turn to the Lord, believe His word, and live by it.  Cleanse your heart.  Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.

No King, No Rule; Anarchy

“In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Judges 21:25 (KJV)

Please remember chapter 17 verse six; 18:1, and 19:1 as we look at the above verse. It seems the final five chapters of Judges shows very clearly what happens when there is no “king”; no rule of law, nor prophetic revelation from God heard, and heeded.

When people think they can rule themselves; especially without God, then there will be chaos in the end.

In a note from my daily journal I wrote of this verse,

Judges shows what happens when there is no rule; especially when they choose not to let God rule; but go their own way. It also shows that God is merciful and gracious, and provides a way for those who call on Him from a broken and contrite heart.

This story continues even into 1 Samuel. It is seen in Ruth 1 when Elimelech takes Naomi, and his two sons to Moab; and there Elimelech and his two sons die. O the sorrow we place on our families because we go our own way, doing what is right in our own eyes.

BUT, we have a Saviour, and His name is Jesus.

On the Threshold

“Then came the woman in the dawning of the day, and fell down at the door of the man’s house where her lord was, till it was light. And her lord rose up in the morning, and opened the doors of the house, and went out to go his way: and, behold, the woman his concubine was fallen down at the door of the house, and her hands were upon the threshold.” Judges 19:26-27 (KJV)

In reading this story of chapter 19; and I do recommend that you would do so; you will notice that three previous verses have noted that “there was no king in Israel in those days” (17:6; 18:1; 19:1). Which tells us basically that there was no law. The final verse of Judges 21 adds to those words, “…every man did that which was right in his own eyes”.

Another verse of Scripture to think on, and I give the NKJV rendering of is,

“Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint;
But happy is he who keeps the law.” Proverbs 29:18 (NKJV)

And so with that in mind we can get a grasp of the vile acts, and consequences of this chapter.

In these events we can see how cheap human life was. That men would throw a woman out to voracious wolves (evil men) to save their own house and lives is next to unthinkable for many men in our day. Yet we are not innocent.

Women and children are fed to the wolves of our society through, husbands, and men who think they own their woman, through sex slavery and human trafficking. Is there any difference? Wives and children live in abusive situations; and treated like property rather than special human beings.

The hands of women and children are on the thresholds of homes today. For some it is too late (like the woman in our story). For others (for the living) there is hope in the cross of Jesus Christ.

If you are one of those people who live in the U.S. of A. and think that slavery is over. You are mistaken; you are deceived. You are part of the problem, need some education on the matter. I know that I need more.

Those of us who are Christian men must commit our lives to Christ, to become more like Him, love Him, His word, and have His compassion for women and children; and be men of God through Him.

The people of this world are enslaved to sin. They go after their own way. We all need a Saviour, and His name is Jesus. He is also the King.

The Pentitents Prayer

“And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray Thee, and strengthen me, I pray Thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes. And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left. And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.” Judges 16:28-30 (KJV)

The Philistines were the enemy of Israel. They worshipped false deities, and defied the God of Israel, Jehovah. They really thought they had conquered Israel and their God by blinding and capturing their Judge, their saviour. How could Samson save them now.

Samson, the rascal that he was, the sinner that he was realized that without GOD he could do nothing. He had violated his vow. He had been impure, unholy, deceitful, wicked in his life and living. The blind man was blinded by his enemies having his eyes burned from their sockets.

As his hair began to grow, the Philistines in their eagerness to display their victim, defy Jehovah, and celebrate victory, a supposed victory; brought Samson into their grand cathedral of Dagon their god; to mock, and ridicule him and the GOD of Israel.

As the people are loudly mocking, jeering, laughing; Samson prays to the Lord GOD, and God hears him.

There is no level of one’s life that we can reach where God will not hear the cry of the penitent. You may think that you have sinned beyond God’s forgiveness. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary paid the debt for all our sin.

In sorrow for your sin, cry out to the Saviour Jesus and He will hear your cry and forgive your sin.

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:13

Wondrous Act of the LORD

“So Manoah took a kid with a meat offering, and offered it upon a rock unto the LORD: and the Angel did wondrously; and Manoah and his wife looked on. For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the Angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground. But the Angel of the LORD did no more appear to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that He was an Angel of the LORD. And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God. But his wife said unto him, If the LORD were pleased to kill us, He would not have received a burnt offering and a meat offering at our hands, neither would He have shewed us all these things, nor would as at this time have told us such things as these.” Judges 13:19-23 (KJV)

Manoah had been prepared to offer a sacrifice unto a mere human messenger; but in verses 15-16 the LORD corrects Manoah, and directs him to offer the sacrifice unto Jehovah. When he does the offering is accepted.

This is a Theophany, a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ appearing as the Angel of the LORD.

This appearance is to tell Manoah and his wife of the coming conception and birth of their son Samson. He was to be dedicated to the LORD; refraining from the fruit of the vine, wines, and from any unclean foods, and his hair was to grow long. Samson was to be a Nazarite under a vow to the LORD.

Up to this point of their encounter with the Angel of the LORD they had only viewed him as a “Man of God”, when they offered to make an offering the Angel of the LORD says to them, “You must offer it to the LORD” (13:16). Where we are told in these verses that the “Angel of the LORD did wondrously” it would seem that that would mean He received the offering; approving it by fire. Then ascending up in the flame Himself. Thus Manoah’s and his wife’s falling on their faces to the ground in an act of worship

Manoah fears death after the LORD’S acceptance of their offering; yet his wife assures him that should not be the case. Manoah’s fear shows that he saw this Angel of the LORD as an appearance of God.

The Lord has appeared to mankind in the person of His Son Jesus to die for our sins, be buried, and rise bodily from the grave; putting away our sins for all eternity. Truly the LORD has done Wondrously.

GOD’S Justice

“Thus God rendered the wickedness of Abimelech, which he did unto his father, in slaying his seventy brethren: and all the evil of the men of Shechem did God render upon their heads: and upon them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal.” Judges 9:56-57 (KJV)

Jerubbaal is Gideon (Judges 7:1). Who had at least seventy sons, and one by a concubine (Judges 8:30-31) whose name was Abimelech, and he was evidently very jealous of the other sons of Gideon.

Gideon would not accept the position of ruler of Israel; he said “The LORD shall rule over you (8:23). He never intended for any of his sons to be ruler, yet that was what Abimelech desired; and he killed all the sons of Gideon, except for Jotham (9:5).

Jotham warned the people of the plight of Abimelech (vv. 7-21). The above verses confirm that what he said came to pass. There is a Just Reward for all who will destroy those whom God has blessed; and that reward is death.

Lust for power in rule is a sad thing, yet our world is full of it. It is seen in homes, churches, local governments, State governments, Federal governments; and it comes from an evil heart. Even a redeemed heart who leads must keep guard against this lust to rule people.  Jesus warned His disciples against seeking to be “first”, and He said if one wanted to do so to be a servant (Mark 9:35).

As followers of Christ, Christians, let us have the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:1-7) who did not seek to be served but to serve, and give His life a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45). The Just Reward for following Christ is eternal life; given by God’s grace.

To Rule

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

The people of Israel had been under the rule of the Midianites; a ruthless, demon worshipping body of people who caused fear in God’s people because they were not right with God due to disobedience.

Gideon had been threshing wheat, which had been grown secretly, then was being threshed secretly (6:1-24). At our current reading we find Gideon through the power of God had defeated the Midianites, set them to flight, and destroyed many of them. Gideon knew from where the victory had come.

The response of the Israelites was to make Gideon their ruler; maybe their king; but Gideon would have none of it. He made the correct decision: “The LORD shall rule over you”.

As followers of Christ today we must realize it is not for men to rule others. The rule of mankind must be God’s. The Great Leader of all times – the King of kings and Lord of lords is coming soon.  Mankind may have leaders; but godly leaders lead others to God, not themselves; and not by force.

Nations today cannot prosper with despots and dictators; nor do men or women want weak leaders.  People need leaders, but leaders who will not lie, cheat, steal; but who live on the same level, go by the same rules, and laws as we all do.

Fear Not the gods of America

“And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD because of the Midianites, that the LORD sent a prophet unto the children of Israel, which said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage; and I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drave them out from before you, and gave you their land; and I said unto you, I am the LORD your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but ye have not obeyed My voice.” Judges 6:7-10 (KJV)

We need to remember what God had done for Israel. Israel needed to remember what God had done for Israel; and to see what He was doing for Israel. God does not forsake His covenant with His people. God’s people often forsake Him, though.

There had been several years from the previous Judge of Israel. A Judge was simply a leader chosen by God to deliver Israel from their oppressors. He or she was chosen by God when the people were crying out for God to help.

In this case God sends them a prophet. God will very often not make a move until He sends a prophet to let the people know of their sins, and what He is about to do.

“Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets.” Amos 3:7

Note the message of the prophet to Israel, “…Fear not the gods of the Amorites…” They had turned their backs on the One who had blessed them to the surrounding deities which put them into the bondage of the surrounding populace.

Just for thought. Has that happened to today’s professing Church?  Turn back to GOD the Lord of the Universe who has made all things.  Repent of your sins, believe Him.

O, how we need to turn to Jesus the Christ, Son of the Living God; believe Him, and He alone will deliver us.

When the Enemy is not Driven Out

“And an Angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break My covenant with you. And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed My voice. Why have ye done this? Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you. And it came to pass, when the Angel of the LORD spake these words unto all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voice, and wept. And they called the name of that place Bochim: and they sacrificed there unto the LORD.” Judges 2:1-5 (KJV)

“Bochim” means weeping, thus the title. When you read these verses you see the reason for their weeping.  When the “Angel of the LORD” makes an appearance with a message such as this, then, we should know that we need to be weeping.

The “Angel of the LORD” is most likely a theophany. A pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ. He was, He is, and He always will be (Revelation 1:4, 8, 18).  That is why He would be speaking authoritatively the word of God. The Israelites had violated the word of God in disobedience (Exodus 23:32), and now they were beginning to suffer the consequences for it.

The above verse says “I will never break My covenant with you”, thus the disobedience of the people is their own judgment. The failure to drive out the enemy would be a snare to them. It is so with the follower of Jesus Christ today as well. This is cause for weeping.

The prophet Jeremiah tell us of this too (Jeremiah 2:19). Paul the apostle tells us,

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Galations 6:7

When the unredeemed are living their own lives, their own way they reap the harvest of what they have sown. When the redeemed turn from walking with God, disobey His word, we too will reap the harvest of what we have sown. Disobedience reaps thorns, sorrows, and snares.

It is a time for weeping. Weeping over our disobedience; our sin.

Thus Saith the LORD God… 012414

“And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD because of the Midianites, that the LORD sent a prophet unto the children of Israel, which said unto them, ‘Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage; and I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drave them out from before you, and gave you their land; and I said unto you, I am the LORD your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but ye have not obeyed My voice.'”  Judges 6:7-10

Day 16 – Me and My House

Reading the fourteen chapters I read today left me a little bit bewildered, because there is so much to think about when it comes to writing and what there is to post.  As I sat down to write I was not sure of what to post here at Fire and Hammer; and then I believe I saw the way this was to go.

My reading consisted of Joshua 23 – 24 and Judges 1 – 12.  In Joshua his life is coming to an end and he offers a challenge to the people he is leading;

“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”  Joshua 24:15 (KJV)

I know, I know a very familiar verse to every Christian; at least it should be.  However, I think I see it a bit differently now after reading it this time.  I noticed that Joshua puts the responsibility of their obedience upon their shoulders.  I guess I knew that previously, but it seemed more pronounced today.  Hear the conversation between Joshua and the people,

“And Joshua said unto the people, ‘Ye cannot serve the LORD: for He is an holy God; He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.  If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then He will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that He hath done you good.’  And the people said unto Joshua, ‘Nay; but we will serve the LORD.’  And Joshua said unto the people, ‘Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve Him.’ And they said, ‘We are witnesses.’  ‘Now therefore put away, said he, ‘the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the LORD God of Israel.'”  vv. 19-23

God demands that His people be holy.  Joshua gave them the truth of God and His Word, and they said we will be responsible.  “We are willing to suffer the consequences of our disobedience when we do so”, “We are witnesses” of this.

We then enter the book of Judges, read of Joshua’s death, and how the people anger the LORD through their worship of foreign gods; which actually begins by departing from GOD.  Disobedience is the first step of departure from GOD;

“And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.” Judges 1:19

The chariots would have appeared to them to be like a military tank to a man on foot in today’s army.  Yet, I must ask, What of God and faith in Him?  Is that not how the walls of Jericho came tumbling down?  Is that not how the waters of the Red Sea parted?  What about the water from the Rock?  The Manna from heaven?  Then we read,

“And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, ‘I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you.   And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this?  Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.” 2:1-3

So now, because of their absence of trust in the LORD, their departure from Him to other gods; GOD leaves the enemy in their midst to act as “thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.”  We as Christians can sit back and judge them and ask these questions concerning their faith; but what about our own.  When it comes to holiness are there things in our hearts and lives that separate us from the blessing of God?

Our holiness is, of course, through the death, burial and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.  It is His holiness, His righteousness, in which we must rest; however, we too have a responsibility to obedience in “… faith which worketh by love.” (Galations 5:6).

Grow in faith and love toward Jesus Christ.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Judges – 041111

The book of Judges is about the grace of God toward Israel.  They have come into the Promised Land which was given them by GOD, with instructions and laws to follow and to be obedient.  As long as they obey God’s commandments they will be prosperous and own the land, but they begin to practice worshipping other god’s; the gods of the surrounding people, whom they are supposed to drive out and destroy.  This is part of their disobedience.

GOD is longsuffering and merciful.  We find these words in chapter six,

“And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD because of the Midianites, that the LORD sent a prophet unto the children of Israel, which said unto them, ‘Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage; and I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drave them out from before you, and gave you their land; and I said unto you, I am the LORD your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but ye have not obeyed My voice.'”  Judges 6:7-10 (KJV)

One thing we can observe in Judges and throughout the whole of the Old Testament is that God sends His prophets before He sends judgment.  The prophet Amos spoke by the leadership of God’s Spirit saying,

“Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.”  Amos 3:7

We can rest assured that before God does anything He sends His preachers to warn and instruct of what is going to come.  For Israel in that day it was “fear not the gods of the Amorites…” but they did not obey.  The people had cried out to the LORD, and He sent a prophet.

Not only that the LORD Himself came down as we read in verses 11-23.

The Lord Himself has came down, in the person of His only Son, given His life on the cross, was raised from death, hell and the grave; and by Him we have eternal life.

Believe Him and live.

-Tim A. Blankenship

When God Is Not King

Judges 17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21:25

This is going to be a overview of chapters 17 through 21.  It seems that these chapters tie together very strongly in showing what happens when God is not the One ruling individuals, and national life.

The key to understanding these chapters appears to be the phrase, “There was no king…”, and that would certainly mean that even God was not the rule of their hearts and lives.  At least they were not submitted to His rule and reign.  We know and believe as Christians, of course, that God is sovereign, and in complete control of every nation, ruler, and individual.

OUTLINE chapters 17 – 21 –

I.  THE SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP OF THE NATION WAS IN SHAMBLES (17:6-18:31).
II.  LACK OF LOVE, RESPECT, AND COMMITMENT IN MARRIAGE (19:1-21).
III.  SEEMING UNRESTRAINED ANIMAL LUST, AND HUMAN DEPRAVITY (19:22-28).
IV.  WARS BETWEEN BRETHREN (19:29-20:48).
V.  UNHOLY COMPASSIONS (21:1-24).

WHEN GOD IS NOT KING THE SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP OF THE CHURCHES, COMMUNITIES, AND NATIONS CRUMBLE (17:6-18-31).  This as a matter of fact is the ultimate reason that nations crumble and fall.  When the spiritual, moral leadership fails, nations are left without a foundation on which to stand.

In this text we have a young man (unnamed) from the  priestly family (Levi) who goes to serve as a priest for one man [Micah] and his family.  He is basically selling the office of priest.  It isn’t long until some group more powerful, with more means comes and buys him away.

This was a young “priest” who was selling his services for gain, to live, and not giving spiritual guidance, or any life guidance what so ever.  Right priestly, spiritual leadership will confront, rebuke, exhort (2 Timothy 3:16-17) through Scriptural counsel.

Right spiritual leadership begins with the priesthood of the home.  The priest of the home is the husband of the wife, father of the children.  This is one of the appointments of God for the Christian man of the house.  That is not to say he is the only priest of the home, the wife, the mother, and each of the children who are Christians are also priests under Jesus Christ, and have the authority to approach the very throne of God.

God has placed the Christian man as the head of spiritual leadership of that home, and when this begins  to fail the foundation begins weakening.  When the husbands and fathers are not leading the homes spiritually, that will show up in the local church, the community, the State government, and the National governments.

This responsibility begins with every Christian.  Make God King of your life through faith in Jesus Christ and His cross.

WHEN GOD IS NOT KING THERE WILL BE A LACK OF LOVE, RESPECT AND COMMITTMENT IN MARRIAGE (19:1-21)  We have in these verses a Levite who has a “concubine” who has forsaken him and returned to her father.  For all practical purposes we see her here as the only “wife” he has.  He does seem to have a love for her, because he pursues her to her father’s home.

The wife had been unfaithful (v. 2), and went to her father’s home in Bethlehem-Judah, and was there for four months.  He goes to her father’s house to bring her home.  He meets his “father in law” (v. 7) for the first time, and they begin communicating , creating a bond with one another, and the “husband” stays the night;  and it wasn’t until the late afternoon of the fifth day that the man and his ‘concubine’ departed.

She  has shown a lack of commitment in her marriage, by being unfaithful.  He has shown some love for her by  pursuing her to her father’s home, to bring her back with him to their home.  He does not however have much respect for marriage, because a concubine was only for the purpose of man’s pleasure or service, and God actually commands a man have one wife.  We are not told anywhere that she was his “wife”, but only concubine.

It seems that the man made bad choices.  This is certainly evidence of the time of spiritual darkness of that day and time.  She is not his wife, she is his wife.  She is not his wife in the traditional sense of that day; she is his wife in the sense of his responsibility for her.

Just as this issue with the Levite and the concubine is confusing so too has the marriage issue of our day become quite confusing.  God ordained that a man leave his father and mother, and cleave only to his wife (Genesis 2:24).  He has ordained that one man and one woman wed, and be together until they are parted by death.  Because of sin God has given allowances for divorce;  Jesus said, “Because of the hardness of your hearts…” (Matthew 19:8;  Mark 10:5).

When God is not king in marriage, then there will be confusion about the rights and wrongs of marriage, divorce, and remarriage.  There will be arguments over authority, rights, and all kinds of family issues; similar to whether a woman should have children if she is not married, and especially if an unmarried woman should be allowed to have fourteen children, through medical means.

When God is King we follow His plans for life, love and marriage and family.

WHEN GOD IS NOT KING THERE WILL BE UNRESTRAINED LUST AND HUMAN DEPRAVITY (19:22-28).  This Levite showed same careless attitude of many people, including many Christians of our day;

1. Any judgment that may be coming is somewhere around the corner in another time and place;
2. Still longing for more fun, more partying and more amusement.

He took no thought for his or her own life when he decided to leave her father’s home so late, and found himself on the streets of an unholy place.

A fine, courteous man invites them to his home for safety, and shelter.  The man accepts the invitation, and they are soon approached by the “sons of Belial” (v. 22), and they sound much like the people who approached Lot’s door requesting to “know” the men he had in his house (Genesis 20:4-5).  Only these were not struck with blindness or later destroyed by fire and brimstone.

Lust was in the hearts of these people.  They had no self restraint, no fear of God, and no care for anyone but self.

The sad part about it is that the Levite and his host seem to have no love for anything but self either.  The “good guys” are not so great after all, are they?  Now, I know all the arguments about this; and I clearly see it, but no man who is right with God in any time or culture would sell their wife, daughter; nor any other man’s wife or daughter for their life.  We will not cast them out to the savages for our own benefit, and to leave them lying dead on the “thresholds” after having wanted back in.

When God is King there is love in the marriage, the home, and respect for one another; and a heart for what is right, wrong, and responsibilities for guidance and protection of that home.

WHEN GOD IS NOT KING THERE WILL BE WARS AND UNREST BETWEEN BRETHREN (19:29-20:48).  Though rightly angry over the death of this woman; I cannot help but believe that part of his actions in cutting up her body is from guilt.  Why didn’t I stand my ground?  Why didn’t I stand to protect her and the man’s daughter (19:24)?  So now he wants to get all the people of Israel involved in his sin.  The rush to judgment, though they had consulted God in the matter, led to the eventual destruction of the tribe of Benjamin.   Though God had given approval for the first two attacks He had not promised them victory until the third attack.

The nation needed to learn from this event.  Their sins, their lack of trust in God, and dependence upon Him was their major offense.  Now they have come to God these three times, it would seem, as only a crutch, or a spare tire.

How should it have been handled?  Should they have been obeying God’s commandments, God’s laws?  YES!  Should they have had only one wife?  YES!  Sometimes even at all times when we just insist on having our own way God allows us to do it.  Then we suffer the thorns and thistles of the life we chose.  That young lady who was counselled by her pastor she shouldn’t marry that non-christian boy, but went ahead with it and, is now troubled by a drunken husband who beats her, cheats on her, and abuses the kids and won’t bring home the check for groceries and rent, but gambles, and drinks it away; she now wants to blame God for her choice.  You were warned young lady.  God gave you the word and you didn’t hear it, you rejected it for your self desire, and will; now you are paying.

When God is King there is obedience to His commandments, and prayer and right choices lead to a life of blessing.  Do we who are Christians ever make wrong choices?  Most definitely.  We pay for our wrong choices.  When God is King it will not lead to unrest between brethren.  He is not a crutch or a spare tire; to be only called upon when in dire straits.

When God is King His Word will be believed and practiced and feared.  When God is King there will be no conflict over whether the Word of God is inerrant, infallible, and eternal

WHEN GOD IS NOT KING THERE WILL BE UNHOLY COMPASSIONS (21:1-24).  The tribe of Israel had basically been destroyed.   Now they suddenly grow concerned about that one tribe, and begin doing all kinds of compromising things to justify their actions.  A plan, a scheme of kidnapping women, and joining of the kidnapped with the living Benjamites, and the kidnapped women being from a city of Judea which has been destroyed due to their lack of participation in the war.  When God is not King man schemes, plots, and eventually loses out on the blessings of God.

Compassion is a good, and sometimes even godly thing.  Any compassion that is based on godlessness is not godly.  It may have been right to preserve the tribe of Benjamin, but the plots and scheming was not right.  It would not have need to be done should things been done according to God’s Word, guidance and direction.

When God is King there will be holy compassion and holy unions, all without schemes, and plots around the desires of God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Just A Thought 02/17/09

Those “Fear Not(s)”

Sometime ago I read somewhere that God had included 365 “fear not” statements within the Bible, or something similar – “Be not afraid”, “Do not fear”, etc.  While I have been doing my annual read through the Scriptures I have been trying to make a point to catch these, underline them, and write there address down in a notebook.  I have found 27 after having read through the fifth chapter of Judges.

The twenty seventh one found is in Judges 4:18, and it reads:

“And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said unto him, Turn in, my lord, turn in to me; fear not. And when he had turned in unto her into the tent, she covered him with a mantle.”

When you get to looking at the story surrounding the event where the woman uses these assuring words, there should almost be a caveat with them; “BEWARE OF THE ONE WHO SPEAKS THE WORDS ‘FEAR NOT'”.  In this case it was a woman who was a friend of Israel, and the one to whom she spoke was the enemy of  Israel, but someone he [Sisera] thought he could trust.

It is certain that when we are on God’s side we need not fear; however when you are an enemy of God and enemy of His people then you had better be cautious of His “Fear not”, they are usually intended for those who hear and obey Him, as words of assurance.

Fear not, when you are resting in Jesus Christ.  Be afraid, O enemy of God.

-Tim A. Blankenship