Re:Verse passage – Judges 7:1-11 (day seven)
Now therefore come, proclaim in the hearing of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is afraid and trembling, let him return and depart from Mount Gilead.’” So 22,000 people returned, but 10,000 remained. – Judges 7:3
This was actually Law. Deuteronomy 20:8 ordered the officers to give permission for men to leave the battlefield if they were afraid “so that he might not make his brothers’ hearts melt like his heart.” Not only was God dwindling the army so that He may be glorified, but He was strengthening the mental health of this group. God knew that fear can become toxic. The spiritual enemy uses fear as a weapon to derail the plans that God puts on our heart. By making the group smaller, God purged the camp of toxicity so that the group that was left would trust Him and obey with confidence. 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear.”
Re:Verse passage – Judges 6:36-40 (day seven)
My initial reaction to this passage is to ridicule Gideon. How could he doubt God after everything God has already done? He has already asked God prove Himself by performing a miracle (17-22) then Gideon asks for another miracle, not once, but twice! Isn’t this the type of mentality that Jesus addressed in the Pharisees? “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah.” Matthew 16:4
Then my wife said to me, “Isn’t it cool how patient God is with Gideon?!”
I realized in that moment that I am Gideon. I may not demand signs, but time and time again I act as if God hasn’t miraculously provided for me. I continually doubt His plan and try to do it my own way. God is patient with me and waits for me to see His plan. Because of that patience I get to experience His love in a whole new way.
Re:Verse passage – Judges 6:22-35 (day seven)
Last week we saw Gideon questioning the existence of the Lord (vs 13). How does God respond? He uses Gideon to disprove the existence of other gods (vs 31). Gideon asks for God to work. God puts Gideon to work.
Gideon was also complaining about being the low man on the totem pole (vs 15). How does God respond? He puts Gideon in charge of thousands of warriors (vs 34-35). Gideon complains. God give Gideon responsibility.
Gideon then asked God to prove that this was all real (vs 17). How does God respond? The Spirit of God rests on Gideon (34). Gideon asks God for sign. God makes Gideon the sign for others.
Be careful what you ask for. God has a knack for putting the solution to our problems back on our plate. How will you respond? Will you continue to complain, or will you take responsibility, get to work, and let God shine through you?
Re:Verse passage – Judges 6:1-16 (day seven)
Why do bad things happen to good people? I would expect that everyone has pondered on this question in their faith journey. Why would God allow for wicked to prevail while the good people continually end up in bad circumstances? Why does the mother of three get cancer? Why did that drunk driver live while the teenager he hit is now in a coma? Why did the man who had been loyal to the company for 20 years get laid off? They were Christians. They prayed. They went to church. They all echo Gideon in verse 13, “O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us?”
Bad things are a product of the brokenness of this world. Not that any one person deserves a harsher life on this earth due to their sin, but because of humanity’s sin, this earth will never function as it was intended. Bad things happen to non-christians too. Where Christian’s hold the advantage is that we know the best is yet to come…
For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison. 2 Cor 4:17
Re:Verse passage – Judges 4:4-23, 5:7, 24-27 (day seven)
Whether we realize it or not, each one of us are leaders. God has entrusted Christians with the Gospel to be missionaries to our workplace, to our homes, to our friend groups, etc. In these circles, we are leaders. Even if we are not the “boss” in these circles, our Christlikeness draws people to us. I expect this is similar to what Deborah experienced.
Being a woman in a patriarchal society, I doubt Deborah was looking to be a Judge for all of Israel. People came to her under her tree not because of her physical traits, but because of her Godly wisdom. She gained leadership from Godliness, and she maintained leadership from humbleness. She empowered those around her, knowing others strengths and her own limitations. She pointed all glory back to God, not on herself. She culminates her leadership in thankfulness. Her song to the Lord is full of thanks for what He did to deliver Israel.
In your leadership circles are you exuding Christlikeness? Are you wise, humble, and thankful? People are already following your lead, where are you leading them?
Re:Verse passage – Judges 3:31 and Acts 2:42-47 (day seven)
“After him came Shamgar the son of Anath, who struck down six hundred Philistines with an oxgoad; and he also saved Israel.”
One verse. One sentence. One story. We are only 3 chapters into Judges but we can already fill in the blanks for the details of this story… After 80 years of peace, the people forgot about Ehud and started worshipping other gods. They then fell into oppression to a foreign nation. Some of the old people said, “Remember when we worshipped YHWH and life was good? Lets do that again!” So they cried out to God for help. God listened and called Shamgar while herding cattle to go fight the Philistines. Shamgar took that literally and left with his cattle prod to fight the Philistines. Shamgar obeyed. God won. Israel was saved.
Why is this story so easy to fill in the blanks? Because it’s our story too. When reading this book, we would like to think we are the judges, but in all actuality, we are the people stuck in our own cycle of sin. Lucky for us, our Judge has already saved us. We need only to call out His name!
Re:Verse passage – Judges 3:11-30 (day seven)
“And the land had rest for eighty years.” Vs 30 (ESV)
Imagine a political paradise where there was peace for 80 years. No wars, no conflicts, everything was calm. The land got to rest! To give you a little perspective, the closest the United States has ever been to this is 31 years between the War of 1812–1815 and the Mexican-American War of 1846–48. We are currently at only 76 years since the end of WWII and have had multiple wars and foreign conflicts in that span. 80 years is a long time for peace!
In the cyclical pattern of sin that chases the Israelites through Judges and seemingly the rest of the Old Testament, we see Israel turn back (repent) to God after a time of running away. What is the result? Peace. It’s not just momentary, but it is lasting peace that allows everyone to take a deep breath and rest with God!
Re:Verse passage – Judges 2:11-20, 3:5-11 (day seven)
Working with students, I often hear questions floated around regarding the conquest of Canaan and the time of Judges. One of these I hear is, “Why would a good God command the conquest and eradication of people groups?!”
Also by working with students, I know clearly why God commanded this; we become like those who we spend the most time with. By not driving out the inhabitants of Canaan in the way that God had commanded, they settled down next to them, and instead of leading these people closer to the Lord, they settled in their convictions. They became just like the world around them.
The sons of Israel lived among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and they took their daughters for themselves as wives, and gave their own daughters to their sons, and served their gods. Judges 3:5-6
We have the tendency to fall into the same traps. We compromise our convictions in sake of the argument, “this will help me relate.” We have to walk a very fine line of being in the world but not of the world. John 15:19.
Re:Verse passage – Judges 1:1-2, 8-13, 20 (day seven)
After the death of Joshua, the people of Israel inquired of the Lord, “Who shall go up first for us against the Canaanites, to fight against them?” vs 1
For the first time in Israel’s history, there was not a leader. There had always been someone in charge whether it was a patriarch, pharaoh, or God ordained leader (Moses, Joshua), but now, as Israel seeks counsel from the Lord, God chooses a tribe, not a person, to carry out his will. There was no succession plan as there had been for Moses to Joshua, nor was there a judge or prophet to guide the people. God was sending a message for Israel; God is King.
We are created and designed by God to be led. Why does Jesus refer to us as sheep? In this way, we also naturally take on the personality and character traits of the one who is leading us. God created us so that when we humble ourselves to be led by Him, we become more like Him. God didn’t want Israel (us) to be dependent on a personality. God wanted Israel (us) to be dependent on Him. God is King.
Re:Verse passage – 2 Chronicles 9:13-31 (day seven)
“The king made silver as common as stones in Jerusalem, and he made cedars as plentiful as sycamore trees that are in the lowland. ” Vs 27
Solomon became the richest king in all of the land and likely one of the richest in the world at the time. If David put Israel on the map militaristically, then Solomon solidified it as a power financially. Israel reached the peak of its power within three generations of kings. What went wrong? How did things get so bad so fast? The writer of Ecclesiastes (presumed to be Solomon) gives us a glimpse of this in 2:9-11,
“Then I became great and increased more than all who preceded me in Jerusalem […] behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun.”
Solomon at the end of his life looked back at what could have been. He realized that wealth was not what made Israel great. Women and power could not bring him happiness. All was vanity. The only thing that holds worth is God.
Ecclesiastes 12:13 “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.”